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“Let Me Google That For You” Bill Aims To Replace Government Agency With Google Search
Senators Tom Coburn and Claire McCaskill have introduced new legislation aimed at saving taxpayers $66 million a year. What’s their plan? It’s the “Let me Google that for you” Act, and its goal is to replace the National Technical Information Service (NTIS) agency with a simple Google search.
Started in 1950, the NTIS collects and distributes government-funded scientific, technical, engineering, and business-related information and reports, charging other agencies and the public for copies. Part of the US federal Commerce Department, the agency staffs 150 employees and costs $66 million a year to run according to a report on NBCNews.com.
It turns out that nearly all the documents distributed by the NTIS can be found online – for free.
During a Senate hearing this week, NTIS director Bruce Borzino argued his agency still serves a vital role.
“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.”
Senators Coburn and McCaskill were not convinced.
“Our goal is to eliminate you as an agency,” said Coburn, recommending any NTIS documents not available online could be stored “in a small closet” in the Department of Commerce.
McCaskill’s response was slightly less surly.
“This is not personal. This is about duplication,” said McCaskill, “This is about charging taxpayers for something that they can get for free.”
Originally introduced in the Senate on April 3, a hearing on the bill was held this past Wednesday.