FCC’s Behind in Digital Revolution, Rosenworcel Says
Posted at 5:29 p.m. on May 16, 2014
The FCC may be able to write the rules of the road for net neutrality, but the agency is struggling to keep its own equipment and practices up-to-speed with the digital revolution.
According to FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democrat who notably wanted to delay the net neutrality rules, the FCC is behind on technological innovation.
She gets a “front row seat” to the digital revolution, she said. “But that revolution doesn’t always make it right into our building,” she said during panel remarks at the startup group 1776’s “Challenge Festival.”
Part of the problem is data crunching. The FCC collects a lot of information, but it doesn’t “slice and dice it and use it” for public policy, she said.
“I think over time we’re gonna have to figure out how to be a lot more nimble with the information we collect — just like it’s done in the private sector — and actually use it to inform our policy,” she said.
It seems FCC chairman Tom Wheeler agrees with the idea that the FCC is behind on this broader issue. “Our IT systems are old, inefficient and insecure,” he said during a March Senate hearing. He said that 40 percent of the commission’s IT systems are more than a decade old.
“This means that most of them aren’t even supported by their vendors anymore,” he said. “And they’re costly to maintain.”
To make matters worse, it’s not just that the FCC’s gear is outdated — some of it isn’t secure: “We’re still using Windows XP in many of our computers and it is well known that it is the access point of hackers worldwide, but we don’t have the money to get out of it.”