Office of Technology Assessment on the FREE-NETS (from PACS-L)

Irene Anne Eckstrand IAE at CU.NIH.GOV
Tue Oct 6 08:24:43 EST 1992


  1 About the TeleForums
  2 Enter the TeleForums

Your Choice ==> 1


   On July 10, 1991 Senator John Glenn of Ohio, in his role as
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs,
requested that the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment
(OTA) do a study.

   Knowing how quickly the world was changing with regard to
information technology, he wanted OTA to examine: "...government
telecommunications and other advanced information technology that
can play a role in the delivery of government services in the
electronic age."  Specifically included in his letter was that OTA
should look at "electronic bulletin boards" as one of those

   The study began early this year and, as part of it, OTA decided
to use the very media it was studying as one means of gathering
the information it needed.  The National Public Telecomputing
Network was contacted and the OTA TeleForums were born.  This
project represents the first time that community computer systems
will have been used by the U.S. Congress to assess public opinion
and to help it formulate policy.

   It works like this...

   When you enter the TeleForums you will be able to select any
(or all) of five issues to comment upon.  The issues have to do
with Government Service Applications, Government Services for the
Educational Community, Network Access to Government Services,
Usage of Electronic Services, and Federal, State, County, and
Local Cooperation in the delivery of these services.

   You then choose the issue you want to examine and READ THE FILE
called README.  This file will contain a summary of the issue and
the kind of things we would like the discussions to focus on.

   Each of these forums will be running simultaneously on multiple
systems in multiple cities.  That is, a comment from someone in
Cleveland might be interspersed with something from a user in
Cincinnati, followed by someone in Youngstown, or Denver, or
Washington D.C.  That too is part of this experiment.

   You are looking at the first attempt BY CONGRESS to use this
medium on a national scale to hold discussions on policy issues
that are before it.

   Use it well.

   If you have any questions about this project, please feel free
to contact Tom Grundner at: tmg at


  1 ISSUE #1: Government Service Applications
  2 ISSUE #2: Government Services for the Educational Community
  3 ISSUE #3: Network Access to Government Services
  4 ISSUE #4: Usage of Electronic Services
  5 ISSUE #5: Federal, State, County, and Local Cooperation


   The general question in this area is:

   What should the federal policy be regarding direct access to
government information and services by people (such as yourself)
using computers and modems connected to networks (such as the
Internet), and/or to community computer systems (such as this one).

   By "services" we would include things such as financial
eligibility determinations, benefits information, training programs
(or information about training programs), etc., as well as
access to government databases and information resources.

   You are free, of course, to comment on anything you'd like, but
some specific questions or issues might include:

   * What kinds of government-produced information services would
      you like to be able to access?

   * What kinds of government services do you think would be
      improved by having electronic communications with (or direct
      information access to) the relevant agencies.

   * How would such access impact on you in your home and/or in
      your workplace?

   * How would it impact on those users who are senior citizens,
      or disabled, or who live in rural settings.

   In short, if the appropriate technology were in place, what
would you like to be able to DO and how would it help you?

More information about the Bionews mailing list