Capital Hill photo of government buildings

How the U.S. Government Shutdown is Affecting the Technology Industry

For the past 30 days, the United States government has been in the middle of the longest government shutdown in U.S. history. There is no end in sight. Most Americans are aware of the ways the partial shutdown is impacting approximately 800,000 unpaid government workers.

Airport security, the FDA, Social Security, and the FBI, are just a few of the government agencies employing those who are financially and emotionally devastated due to a lack of pay.

The government shutdown has also inflicted pain on U.S. citizens not employed by the government. It is negatively impacting the tech industry and the American economy overall.

FCC

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has ceased most of its operations. This means there are delays in new technologies like 5G. It was slated to be available in the U.S. before any other country in the world.

FTC

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has been shut down. The FTC protects consumers in America from various types of fraud and illegal business practices.

This is perfect timing for Facebook. In addition to multiple data breaches and many alleged FTC violations, the investigation into Facebook’s abuses of privacy to their 214 million users as of 2018, is on hold.

The FTC also had to shut down their website. People are unable to file reports when they believe they have been victims of identity theft. Other consumer protection websites are unavailable as well.

SEC

The Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) isn’t completely closed, but some of its departments are closed. Initial public offerings (IPO)s are experiencing delays.

As a result, the highly anticipated IPOs for Lyft and Uber are hanging in the balance with other companies.

It would seem as though the U.S. government should have a Chief Information Officer (CIO) to monitor and oversee the cyber-security of what is considered the most powerful country in the world. Not yet.

A New Bill Was Passed

The Federal CIO Authorization Act was established last year in 2018 and was enacted to appoint a Federal Chief Information Officer. While in charge of security for all government data, all government agencies would report all IT spending to the Federal CIO office.

The Federal CIO will then create a plan for consolidating IT of the American government and increase the use of shared devices. This bill was recently passed by Congress and needs the approval of the Senate, but it has been placed on hold due to the shutdown.

The government shutdown in the United States isn’t just about a loss of wages for 800,000 government employees. It is also about lack of security for individuals, this country, and the security of the U.S. economy. Only time will tell how long the government shutdown will last, or how much damage it may do.