Bereft of Life, PITAC Rests in Peace… but still garners attention
Gene Spafford passed on an article from VARBusiness which illustrates the technical media’s attention to PITAC even two months after its expiry. The article speaks glowingly of PITAC, which it describes as “a group of technology-industry luminaries and academics assembled to act as a council [sic] to the president, Congress, and the federal agencies that are involved in [NITRD].” Adjectives used in describing the committee and its work include “insightful,” “expert,” “valuable.” The article quotes Harris Miller, president of the ITAA, at some length:
“It’s really disappointing,” says Harris Miller, president of the Information Technology Association of America…. “What you had was a group of leading people in the IT arena who came together to provide advice and thoughts on critical topics, and they’d really done some interesting and thoughtful work. It’s unfortunate.”
Harris, whose background falls on the public-policy side, speculates that some of the group’s recommendations may not have been taken well by the administration. Although he doesn’t know exactly why the group was dissolved, he says that, “If you want honest advice, you have to realize it’s sometimes not going to be praiseworthy.” And while the group might someday be reinstated, Harris says he hasn’t picked up on any indication that it will happen soon. “Obviously, the cybersecurity report had some pretty strong language about some shortcomings,” Harris says. “But it wasn’t like others weren’t saying the same things.”
The bigger point here is this: while PITAC may be dormant, it is still getting extremely favorable attention from the tech and mainstream media. In addition, the media seem to be inclined to believe that a major reason for PITAC’s current hibernation is its frank and well-founded criticisms of current policy. This is encouraging and, with sustained pressure, may mean that PITAC will someday return to doing its “insightful,” “expert,” “valuable” work.