The 'Let Me Google That For You Act Of 2014' Is A Real, Live Bill Introduced This Week

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Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) totally gets the internet. The senator, previously known online for annually releasing his "Wastebook," co-sponsored a bill introduced this week called the "Let Me Google That For You Act of 2014." No, that's really its name. The bill, co-sponsored by Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) proposes getting rid of the National Technical Information Service (NTIS), a searchable database of government reports and information.

The NTIS was established in 1950 as a central resource for government-funded data. But the senators are like: "All that stuff's already on the Google."


But, just like your friend who directs you to your smartphone after you ask what time a restaurant closes, the senators kind of have a point. If every agency that conducts government-funded research already publishes its results and data online, why collect them all on a separate website when Google's crawlers are doing it for free?

The bill notes that NTIS was established well before the internet age, and it notes a 2012 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report suggesting that at least 74 percent of documents added to the repository between 1990-2011 are available elsewhere online.

That GAO report rather succinctly noted the following:

The source that most often had the report [GAO] was searching for was another website located through

NTIS also sells reports, though it doesn't sell enough to cover its operating costs, the text of the bill suggests. The bill also suggests it's unethical for a government agency to sell reports citizens can just download for free. 

Unsurprisingly, Twitter was highly amused at the news:

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