The Federal Communications Commission is charged with regulating the nation’s technology and telecommunications industries. But in house, the commission’s own equipment is so deficient that its leader came to Congress this week pleading for an upgrade.
“We just simply cannot go on this way,” the visibly frustrated FCC chairman told a Senate Appropriations subcommittee on Thursday.
At hearings this week before the House and Senate Appropriations subcommittees that handle his agency’s budget, Chairman Tom Wheeler told Congress that the FCC needs $13.5 million to upgrade its “antiquated” technology system.
Vulnerability to cyberattacks is a top concern for Wheeler. For example, many of the FCC’s computers still use Windows XP, the 13-year-old operating system that Microsoft is ending support for on April 8.
“As a result of my being here today … we will see a precipitous increase in the amount of attacks on the FCC website,” Wheeler said Thursday. “If we have responsibility for the economic engine of the 21st century, we can’t be sitting here … exposed as we are.”
The outdated technology is also a drag on the agency’s efficiency.
Improving the agency’s efficiency and accountability is a high priority for Congress and the new chairman, and even Republican Commissioner Ajit Pai agreed that the sorry state of its IT makes it difficult to achieve those goals.
According to Wheeler, the agency has more than 200 different computer systems and 40 percent of its technology is at least 10 years old. Money not spent on upgrades next year will be spent within two years on expensive maintenance.
Citing his long career in the private sector, Wheeler said, “There is not a business in America that would put up with this.”
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With three days until the first debate, the polls are coming fast and furious. The latest round:
- An Associated Press/Gfk poll of registered voters found very few voters committed, with Clinton leading Trump, 37% to 29%, and Gary Johnson at 7%.
- A McClatchy-Marist poll gave Clinton a six-point edge, 45% to 39%, in a four-way ballot test. Johnson pulls 10% support, with Jill Stein at 4%.
- Rasmussen, which has drawn criticism for continually showing Donald Trump doing much better than he does in other polls, is at it again. A new survey gives Trump a five-point lead, 44%-39%.
In contrast to Hillary Clinton's meticulous debate practice sessions, Donald Trump "is largely shunning traditional debate preparations, but has been watching video of…Clinton’s best and worst debate moments, looking for her vulnerabilities.” Trump “has paid only cursory attention to briefing materials. He has refused to use lecterns in mock debate sessions despite the urging of his advisers. He prefers spitballing ideas with his team rather than honing them into crisp, two-minute answers.”
Donald Trump "is on the precipice of becoming the only major-party presidential candidate this century not to reach out to millions of American voters whose dominant, first or just preferred language is Spanish. Trump has not only failed to buy any Spanish-language television or radio ads, he so far has avoided even offering a translation of his website into Spanish, breaking with two decades of bipartisan tradition."
Bill and Hillary Clinton have purchased the home next door to their primary residence in tony Chappaqua, New York, for $1.16 million. "By purchasing the new home, the Clinton's now own the entire cul-de-sac at the end of the road in the leafy New York suburb. The purchase makes it easier for the United States Secret Service to protect the former president and possible future commander in chief."