10,000 Americans Call on Paul Ryan to Restore Science and Technology Advice to Congress

NEW YORK, May 7, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- More than 10,000 people have signed a petition addressed to Speaker Paul Ryan to restore science and technology advice to Congress. The petition was started following the Facebook hearings on Capitol Hill focused on data privacy and has garnered support from Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. To read and sign the petition, visit: RebuildOTA.org.

The Office of Technology Assessment (OTA), established by Congress in 1972, provided its members with objective and authoritative analysis of the scientific and technological issues of the day; it was defunded in 1995. Congress has lacked a dedicated source of non-partisan science and technology advice for over twenty years.

"One of the more notable takeaways from the Facebook hearings was the obvious gap in technical literacy on display by many members of Congress. This made it difficult for many observers, myself included, to chart a line of sight to rational—and necessary—legislation about data protection," said Adam Bly, who started the petition. "While it is unreasonable to expect our policymakers be expert in all areas they consider, there is clearly a material gap in technical literacy in Congress that needs to be filled immediately in order for our government to legislate effectively."

Bly is a scientist and entrepreneur who most recently led data at Spotify. He founded the data analytics company Seed Scientific, which was acquired by Spotify. He is a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader and was a Visiting Senior Fellow in Science, Technology & Society at Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

"Science and technology underpin many of the most important issues facing society today—and, therefore, many of the most critical legislative decisions before Congress. Legislators ought to consider the best evidence surrounding the issue they are legislating and adequately understand the technical implications of their decisions," Bly said. "This is not at all a partisan issue; it goes to the core of our democracy."