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Previous Spotlights
Read our reviews of select government- related Web sites:
National Archives and Records Administration
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Network
President Clinton's One America Initiative
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Site
NIH Consumer Health Information Site
OMB Watch
National Weather Service
President's Commission on Critical Infrastructure Protection
National Endowment for the Arts
Food and Drug Administration
Congressional Budget Office
National Library of Medicine

Past Articles

Campaign Finance Data on Web
Jan. 6, 1997
The Federal Election Commission has begun publishing digital images of campaign finance records on its Web site, allowing those with Internet access to look up reports on many candidates, political parties and political action committees.

FTC Backs Industry's Internet Privacy Rules
Dec. 18, 1997
The Federal Trade Commission has released a report endorsing a wide-ranging set of principles on privacy-related issues drafted by the biggest players in the computerized database industry. The endorsement is a major victory for the industry, including the well-known Lexis-Nexis online search service, which recently devised its own rules in hopes of staving off legislative oversight by Congress.

FTC -- Friendly to Consumers
Dec. 10, 1997
The Federal Trade Commission recently launched a consumer Web site unofficially called "consumer dot gov," which consolidates five federal Web sites into one Internet address. The site provides information in several categories: health, home, food, transportation, children, smart buying, product safety, money and education.

Gore's Best Friend Is His Computer
Nov. 29, 1997
Vice President Al Gore is an e-mail addict, people on his staff say. Whether on the road or at the White House, any time he's got a free minute and a "secure" telephone connection, he's surfing the Internet or checking his e-mail. Gore says he uses the Web because he loves it, and typically checks out sites run by news organizations.

America Off-Line:
Gingrich's Unfulfilled Internet Promise

Nov. 16, 1997
Do you know how your state's U.S. Senators voted in the past year? If not, where would you look on the Internet to find voting records? In this opinion piece, Gary Ruskin, director of the Congressional Accountability Project, explains that you won't find it on the World Wide Web despite a pledge by Newt Gingrich to provide congressional information online.

Get What You Want . . . Online
Nov. 12, 1997
Consumer protection and advocacy sites abound on the World Wide Web. This article points to three government sites devoted to educating consumers and small businesses. If you need information on anything from purchasing a car to keeping healthy, writer Don Oldenburg advises you to "point your cursor in the right direction."

The Real Mail Deal
Nov. 6, 1997
Will snail mail prevail? Washington Post Staff Writer Linton Weeks ("The Navigator") ponders the U.S. Postal Service Web site and finds that what he loves about the Postal Service can't be found on the computer screen. Mail isn't about being fast, it's about being accurate and reliable, he writes. We shouldn't think of it as snail mail. It's escargot.

Presidential Panel Warns Against Computer Terrorism
Oct. 21, 1997
The President's Commission on Critical Infrastructure Protection has warned that the nation's communications and electrical networks are increasingly vulnerable to attack by terrorists using computers and recommends that the U.S. government double its current spending on research aimed at countering the threat. Read the commission's report on-line.

Fast Forerunner to a New Internet?
Oct. 9, 1997
The Internet2 is a component of the Clinton administration's $300 million Next Generation Internet initiative, which aims to connect several national labs and universities at speeds even faster than the Internet — about 100 times so — by the year 2000.

A Web-Wise Spin on the Pork Barrel
Sept. 23, 1997
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) regularly annoys his colleagues with speeches against spending taxpayers' money on hometown projects. Now McCain has his own "Pork Barreling" Web page, devoted to exposing these spending measures.

Social Security Urged to Delay Internet Access
Sept. 5, 1997
The Social Security Administration will begin to make calculations of individual future retirement benefits available on the Internet by the end of the year. The new service is to include enhanced security, but some congressmen aren't satisfied with the plan and want it delayed.

Federal Sites on Web Gather Personal Data
Aug. 28, 1997
Internet sites operated by federal agencies routinely collect data about visitors without saying how the information will be used, a practice that clashes with the Clinton administration's call for safeguarding privacy on the global computer network, according to a new study.

NASA Sets Sights on a 'Paperless' Planet
Aug. 19, 1997
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is already famous for using space to conquer distant frontiers, but now its scientists believe they can use cyberspace to conquer government paperwork.

Aug. 10, 1997
The coauthors of a book on reinventing government think the government is doing a great job of putting public services online. In their opinion piece, they say one big reason is that the Internet and the Web are virgin territory, not yet fenced off with bureaucratic barbed wire. Indeed, they write, going on the Web may be the one thing our public servants can do unconstrained by rules and regulations.

Computer Games Shutdown Called Partial Fix of Time Management
July 29, 1997
The Senate has agreed to legislation that would require federal agencies to remove computer games from all government computers. But when it comes to how employees use computers, industry analysts caution that there are no simple solutions to the "futz factor," the wasting of work time by futzing around with electronic games, e-mail and the Internet.

The Costs of Online Government
June 18, 1997
Executive branch organizations spent $349 million on Internet-related activities over a three-year period—with the Defense Department responsible for the bulk of the spending—according to a General Accounting Office (GAO) report.

Bit by Bit, Congress Is Opening Up to the Information Age
June 2, 1997
Congress and cyberspace have grown increasingly entwined. More than two-thirds of the members have set up "offices" on the World Wide Web while congressional organizations pump voluminous information on revamped Web sites and activists cry for more.

On Site: Statistical Yardsticks Taking the Nation's Measure
May 23, 1997
The Clinton administration has officially launched FedStats, an Internet service that links computer users to statistics from more than 70 federal Web sites.

Servicing Citizens With the Internet
April 21, 1997
World Wide Web sites are becoming an important part of the government's strategy to shed its bureaucratic image and provide faster public service.

Privacy Concerns Short-Circuit Social Security's Online Service
April 10, 1997
The Social Security Administration pulled the plug on a breakthrough online service—at least temporarily—after a bipartisan group of senators sent a harshly critical letter to the agency outlining privacy concerns. The agency had been giving consumers easier access to their own "Personal Earnings and Benefits Estimate Statements" (PEBES), records commonly used for retirement planning.

How Is Your Government Doing?
April 9, 1997
Since 1992, when the Federal Trade Commission began reforming long-standing regulations, it has reviewed, streamlined, adjusted or abolished about half of its 80 rules and guidelines—with the help of the public.

Government Expands Its Claim on the Web
March 18, 1997
Only two years ago, most of the government's Web sites served up little more than news releases and bureaucrats' biographies. But today many have become reliable high-tech tools that are user-friendly.

On Web, Uncle Sam Shops for Wares of Contracting Elves
December 11, 1996
The General Service Administration's Internet shopping site may not really rival Neiman Marcus—or even Sears, for that matter—but its newly expanded online catalogue is drawing in federal shoppers across the nation.

A Pentagon Plan Became the Internet
July 2, 1996
The world is tied together by the Internet and the World Wide Web today in part because three decades ago, policymakers in the Pentagon got worried: Would the United States' military communications systems survive a nuclear attack or sabotage?

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