Watching Washington

The Microsoft case. Online privacy. H-1B visas. Internet taxation.

Washington has certainly become involved in IT-related issues. And whatever the federal government does with these issues could very well affect your job, your company, even your industry. And both major-party candidates have staked out positions on IT issues. With all this and more in mind, Computerworld presents its annual Special Report on government and IT.

  • Don't Tread on IT
  • Don McNamee, CIO at Lexmark International, says Washington should treat IT-related issues with kid gloves. He's not alone: A survey of 71 attendees at Computerworld's Premier 100 Conference for IT Leaders in June found that most of his peers largely feel the same way.

  • IT and the Run for the White House
  • Vice President Al Gore and Texas Gov. George W. Bush have IT on their lists of campaign issues. They agree on the easy stuff, but they aren't taking stands on key technology controversies.

  • Foreign Affairs
  • Three bills are before Congress that would raise or eliminate the cap on H-1B visas for foreign workers, but not all IT managers and industry experts are embracing the proposals as solutions to the IT skills shortage.

  • Should the H-1B Cap be raised?
  • Raise the H-1B cap? Harris Miller of the Information Technology Association of America says yes because the current ceiling is inadequate. But Norm Matloff, a computer science professor at the University of California at Davis, says no, accusing employers of using the IT skills shortage as an excuse to import cheaper talent.

  • The Feds' Role: Take Charge or Butt Out?
  • Opinions of IT leaders like Steve Wyatt vary widely on what role the government should play in IT staffing issues, from providing tax incentives for training programs to sponsoring education initiatives, to just leaving well enough alone and staying out of the way.

  • Intercepting Messages
  • The FBI's Carnivore spying system has drawn lots of attention from the media this summer. But a much more powerful system, called Echelon, has been drawing criticism from privacy advocates for years.

  • QuickStudy: Electronic Government
  • E-government. From the nation's capital to town halls, the public sector is discovering the many benefits of using the Internet.

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    For the latest news about government actions affecting IT, see our Washington Watch page.

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