Committee on Science, Space, and Technology

Lamar Smith

Subcommittee on Oversight and Subcommittee on Research and Technology Joint Hearing - NSF’s Oversight of the NEON Project and Other Major Research Facilities Developed Under Cooperative Agreements

2015/02/03

NSF’s Oversight of the NEON Project and Other Major Research Facilities Developed Under Cooperative Agreements

Hearing Charter

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Smith Questions Administration Allowing Companies Access to Americans’ Info on HealthCare.gov

2015/01/29

Washington, D.C. – Following news reports last week that as many as 50 data mining companies were provided direct access to monitor information entered on the HealthCare.gov website, Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today sent several letters seeking an explanation. 

Access to HealthCare.gov was apparently provided with permission and even encouragement from the federal government to companies who profit from gathering and selling personal information.

“Every American who has visited the Obamacare website may have been monitored by numerous companies without their consent or knowledge,” Smith wrote. “This revelation raises serious questions about both personal privacy and cybersecurity on the HealthCare.gov website.”

The Associated Press reported that when a person applies for coverage through HealthCare.gov, approximately 50 data mining companies immediately become aware of the individual’s online presence.  Data mining companies can then search for sensitive personal information that applicants are required to enter.  This can include a social security number, annual salary, employment, place of residence, immigration status, military service, criminal history, financial information, age, whether one is pregnant, whether one smokes and more. 

Smith wrote that “Once a data mining company seizes this treasure trove of sensitive personal information, it is able to combine this data with other information collected by tapping into commercial websites and databases such as phone calls, texts, social media posts, frequently visited websites, and credit card purchases.  These detailed electronic records on millions of Americans could then be sold to other businesses, U.S. government agencies, foreign governments and even criminal enterprises that are willing to pay large sums of money for the information…”

“It is astonishing that the Obama administration has allowed scores of these companies to take up permanent residence on the HealthCare.gov website.”

The letters request information about how decisions were made, who was aware, and how the administration justifies these actions.  Separate letters were sent to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy as well as the heads of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

During the 113th Congress, the Committee held several hearings on the security of HealthCare.gov, including a November, 2013 hearing, Is My Data on HealthCare.gov Secure?; a January 2014 hearing, Healthcare.gov: Consequences of Stolen Identity; and a March 2014 hearing, Can Technology Protect Americans from International Cybercriminals?

Chairman Smith’s full letters can be found HERE.

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Smith Letters to HHS, CMS, OSTP Questioning Data Mining of HealthCare.gov

2015/01/29

Letter to Hon. Marilyn Tavenner, Administrator of Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Servicss

Letter to Ms. Megan Smith, Chief Technology Officer at the White House Office of Science and Tecnology Policy

Letter to Hon. Sylvia Burwell, Secretary of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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Supercomputing Benefits U.S. Technology Leadership

2015/01/28

Washington, D.C. –The Energy Subcommittee today examined the Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR) program within the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science as a mechanism to support technological advancement in the United States. Witnesses discussed high performance computing (HPC) facilities’ unique ability to accelerate innovation and encouraged sustained federal investment in the ASCR program. The greater availability and utilization of HPC makes increasingly complex scientific research possible.

Energy Subcommittee Chairman Randy Weber (R-Texas): “As we face the reality of ongoing budget constraints in Washington, it is our job in Congress to ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent wisely, on innovative research that is in the national interest, and provides the best chance for broad impact and long-term success. The basic research conducted within the ASCR program clearly meets this requirement. High performance computing provides a platform for breakthroughs in all scientific research, and accelerates applications of scientific breakthroughs across our economy.” 

Scientific discovery in which large volumes of data is gathered and mined to exploit information, sometimes referred to as “big data,” has transformed computing technology needs. Medical research, energy and environment system simulations, computational chemistry, and innumerable other scientific problems directly benefit from this modeling.

Within DOE’s Office of Science, the ASCR program develops and maintains world-class computing facilities and provides funding for research in applied mathematics, computer science, and advanced networking. ASCR’s programs fund discovery-based science in the areas of modeling, analysis, and simulation that may enable breakthroughs in other fields of research and technology development. In May 2013, the Subcommittee held a hearing on one of ASCR’s major new initiatives involving exascale computing.

 

The following witnesses testified:

Mr. Norman Augustine, Board Member, Bipartisan Policy Center

Dr. Roscoe Giles, Chairman, DOE Advanced Scientific Computing Advisory Committee

Mr. Dave Turek, Vice President, Technical Computing, IBM

Dr. James Crowley, Executive Director, Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics

For more information about the hearing, including a link to the archived webcast, visit the Science, Space, and Technology Committee website.

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Smith, Palazzo Reflect on NASA’s Day of Remembrance

2015/01/28

Washington D.C. – Today, Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Space Subcommittee Chairman Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.) released the following statements honoring the fallen heroes of Apollo 1, Columbia, and Challenger:

Full Committee Chairman Smith: “Our nation has seen moments of both triumph and tragedy in our space exploration endeavors over the last 50 years. Today, we pay our respects to the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for the cause of scientific discovery and advancement. One of the best ways we can honor their lives is to ensure America leads the world in space for the next 50 years. The future holds limitless possibilities if we continue to invest in the next generation of scientists, engineers and explorers.”

Space Subcommittee Chairman Palazzo: “Today, on the 29th Anniversary of the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, we remember those who lost their lives during these missions. We would not be where we are today if it weren’t for the many brave individuals who dedicate their lives to pushing the boundaries of space exploration and discovery. From Apollo 1 to Columbia to Challenger, these astronauts put themselves in harm's way to better our future. I join NASA and the American people on this day of remembrance in paying my utmost respects to these outstanding individuals. Their hard work and commitment forever changed the world, and their sacrifice will not be forgotten.”

Today is NASA’s Day of Remembrance, which was set aside following the Columbia disaster to honor the lives of those lost from Apollo 1, Columbia, and Challenger.

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Subcommittee on Energy - Supercomputing and American Technology Leadership

2015/01/28

Subcommittee on Energy - Supercomputing and American Technology Leadership

Hearing Charter

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Subcommittee Reviews Expanding Cyber Threats

2015/01/27

Washington, D.C. –The Research and Technology Subcommittee today held its first hearing of the 114th Congress to hear from both private sector and government experts about issues related to cybersecurity.

Subcommittee Chairwoman Barbara Comstock (R-Va.): “Instances of harmful cyber-attacks are happening everyday across the country.  Financial information, medical records, and personal data maintained on computer systems by individuals and organizations continue to be vulnerable to attacks.  We have well-trained professionals who are working around the clock implementing security techniques that will help Americans thwart cyber-attacks.  We know we must aggressively enhance our capabilities and develop best practices to counter high-risk cyber security issues.  This is and should be a top priority for the new Congress.”

Cybersecurity research and development efforts include working on the prevention of cyber-attacks, detecting attacks as they are occurring, responding to attacks effectively, mitigating severity, recovering quickly and identifying responsible parties. Mobile, wireless technology presents new challenges in preventing for cyber-attacks. As more devices communicate with one another, from security systems to thermostats, the “Internet of Things” presents a growing target.

Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas): “From the theft of credit card information at retailers like Target and Home Depot, to successful attacks at Sony and on the U.S. Central Command, no further wake-up calls are necessary to understand our call to action. As America continues to become more advanced, we must better protect our information technology systems from attack.  Any real solution should adapt to changing technology and tactics while also protecting private sector companies, public institutions and personal privacy.”

The following witnesses testified:

Ms. Cheri McGuire, Vice President, Global Government Affairs & Cybersecurity Policy, Symantec Corporation

Dr. James Kurose, Assistant Director, Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) Directorate, National Science Foundation.

Dr. Charles H. Romine, Director, Information Technology Laboratory, National Institute of Standards and Technology

Dr. Eric A. Fischer, Senior Specialist in Science and Technology, Congressional Research Service

Mr. Dean Garfield, President and CEO, Information Technology Industry Council

During the 113th Congress, the Committee held a number of hearings on issues related to cybersecurity, including: a February 2013 hearing, Cybersecurity Research and Development: Challenges and Solutions; a January 2014 hearing, Healthcare.gov: Consequences of Stolen Identity; and a March 2014 hearing, Can Technology Protect Americans from International Cybercriminals?  Each hearing explored a different aspect of cybersecurity concerns facing Americans today.

For more information about the hearing, including a link to the archived webcast, visit the Science, Space, and Technology Committee website.

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Smith Letter to EPA Administrator McCarthy on Deleted Text Messages

2015/01/27

The letter can be found HERE

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Full Committee Business Meeting - Adoption of Committee Rules and Approval of Oversight Plan

2015/01/27

Full Committee Business Meeting - Adoption of Committee Rules and Approval of Oversight Plan

Proposed 114th Congress Oversight Plan, Approved by a voice vote

Proposed 114th Committee Rules, Approved by a vote of 17:10

Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute offered by Ms. Johson (D- Texas), Defeated by a vote of 12:19

Amendment 02 offered by Ms. Edwards (D-Md.), Defeated by a vote of 12:19

Amendment 03 offered by Ms. Lofgren (D-Cali.), Defeated by a vote of 11:17

Amendment 04 offered by Ms. Lofgren (D-Cali.), Defeated by a vote of 10:16

Amendment 05 offered by Ms. Lofgren (D-Cali.), Defeated by a vote of 10:16

Amendment 06 offered by Ms. Edwards (D-Md.), Defeated by a vote of 9:17

Amendment 07 offered by Ms. Lofgren (D-Cali.), Defeated by a vote of 10:17  

Click HERE to view recorded votes.

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Subcommittee on Research and Technology Hearing - The Expanding Cyber Threat

2015/01/27

Subcommittee on Research and Technology Hearing - The Expanding Cyber Threat

Hearing Charter

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Contact Information

2321 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-6371
Fax 202-226-0113
science.house.gov


Membership

Jim Bridenstine

OKLAHOMA's 1st DISTRICT

Mo Brooks

ALABAMA's 5th DISTRICT

Paul Broun

GEORGIA's 10th DISTRICT

Larry Bucshon

INDIANA's 8th DISTRICT

Chris Collins

NEW YORK's 27th DISTRICT

Kevin Cramer

NORTH DAKOTA

Ralph Hall

TEXAS' 4th DISTRICT

Randy Hultgren

ILLINOIS' 14th DISTRICT

Frank Lucas

OKLAHOMA's 3rd DISTRICT

Cynthia Lummis

WYOMING

Thomas Massie

KENTUCKY's 4th DISTRICT

Michael McCaul

TEXAS' 10th DISTRICT

Randy Neugebauer

TEXAS' 19th DISTRICT

Steven Palazzo

MISSISSIPPI's 4th DISTRICT

Bill Posey

FLORIDA's 8th DISTRICT

Dana Rohrabacher

CALIFORNIA's 48th DISTRICT

David Schweikert

ARIZONA's 6th DISTRICT

Jim Sensenbrenner

WISCONSIN's 5th DISTRICT

Lamar Smith

TEXAS' 21st DISTRICT

Steve Stockman

TEXAS' 36th DISTRICT

Randy Weber

TEXAS' 14th DISTRICT