Researchers ask Congress for overhaul

September 11, 2003

PITTSBURGH--Carnegie Mellon University Professor Granger Morgan will discuss research from a new book designed to help Congressional leaders improve the way they tackle key issues, including cascading blackouts, future space shuttle launches, Internet and homeland security, identity theft and the evaluation of new weapon systems.

Morgan, who will speak about his new book Science and Technology Advice for Congress September 15 at 1 p.m. at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., has found a serious gap in the way science and technology advice is handled by the country's key decisionmakers.

Morgan and co-author Jon Peha of Carnegie Mellon argue that Congress and its many committees need more than bare facts and brief interactions with technical experts to analyze and solve some of the nation's most challenging issues.

In eight hours of hearings that did not pause for lunch, the House Energy and Commerce Committee last week had lots of questions, but got few answers from a parade of government experts who professed themselves still in the dark about causes of the great blackout of 2003, according to Morgan. The book also outlines processes for improved communication to Congress about a variety of critical issues such as identity theft and computer viruses.

An estimated 27.3 million Americans were victimized in the past five years by identity thieves who stole names and credit card numbers, costing consumers $5 billion and businesses $48 billion, the Federal Trade Commission reported this month. And since 9/11, computer viruses have become so sophisticated that they may soon be able to allude antivirus programs and sophisticated firewalls, according to industry analysts with the computer security industry.

Morgan and Congressman Amo Houghton (R-N.Y.) will discuss the book's blueprint for educating Congressional leaders about the technological landmines facing consumers and the business sector.

WHEN: 1 p.m., Monday, Sept. 15, 2003
WHERE: 13th Floor, Zenger Room, The National Press Club, 529 14th St., N.W. , Washington, D.C.

Carnegie Mellon University

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