Aside from all the issues that have stemmed from the Right To Be Forgotten situation over in Europe, we don’t usually see Google mixing it up with government. Well, the government/Google relationship just keeps goin’ baby! The only real difference is that Google isn’t n trouble. A couple of senators, Tom Boburn and Claire McCaskill, have introduced new legislation that is aimed at saving taxpayers $66 million a year. And no, it isn’t some awesome tax break.
What would this plan be? It’s the “Let me Google that for you” Act. Let me tell you, this is something I never thought would come out of the government, so I’m pretty surprised to hear this, personally. The idea behind this new act is to replace the National Technical Information Service (NTIS) agency with a simple Google search.
So basically, we’re going to bypass the government in favor of a Google search. I gotcha.
The NTIS was started in 1950, and it collects and distributes government-funded scientific, technical, engineering, and business-related information and reports. It also charges other agencies and the public for copies as well. The NTIS is only a part of the US federal Commerce Department, and staffs 150 employees. According to a report on NBCNews.com, this is what costs the taxpayers $66 million dollars a year.
If you wanted to find another reason to drop the NTIS, aside from the $66 million a year issue, you can find almost all the documents that they distribute online. For free. No money to you. Yeah, how do you like that?
Bruce Borzino, the director of NTIS said during a hearing this week, that the agency is still important by saying this:
“As the amount of data generated by the federal government grows, so does the challenge of ensuring its continued access and permanent availability,” said Borzino, “This is a function unique to NTIS.”
Apparently, this statement didn’t make a huge impression on the senators, as Coburn said “Our goal is to eliminate you as an agency.” Coburn feels that any NTIS documents that aren’t found online shouldn’t be stored “in a small closet” somewhere is the Department of Commerce.
“This is not personal. This is about duplication,” said McCaskill, “This is about charging taxpayers for something that they can get for free.”
The bill was introduced to the Senate on the 3rd of April, and a hearing on the bill was held on Wednesday.
I bet employees of the NTIS aren’t very thrilled with the potentially impending doom of their agency.