A bipartisan bill has been introduced in the U.S. Senate under the unlikely but wonderful title, “Let Me Google That For You”.
The bill, sponsored by Senators Tom Coburn and Claire McCaskill, has the purpose “To streamline the collection and distribution of government information” and proposes that the government prioritize searching for information via the Internet.
The present protocol for government research involves an organization called the National Technical Information Service (NTIS). It’s estimated that at up to $100 a pop, it’s a rather expensive way of finding information, especially since the NTIS probably uses Google itself.
Should the “Let Me Google That For You” bill become law, it will ensure that the NTIS becomes a historical footnote. A review of NTIS in 2012 by the Government Accountability Office found that 74 percent of its work could be achieved with a few mouse clicks, and of those, 95 percent of the results were free of charge to the end user, and therefore the taxpayer.
The bill says that the NTIS, which was set up in 1950, has been losing an average of $1.3 million per year over the past decade, largely due to the advent of the Internet.
During the two readings of the bill, the Senate concluded that, “No federal agency should use taxpayer dollars to purchase a report from the National Technical Information Service that is available through the Internet for free.”
The bill has been referred to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.
This article was originally published on the Inquirer.