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November 21, 1996 - Image 6

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-11-21

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6A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, November 21, 1996


Panel discusses technology, law

By Laurie Mayk
Daily Staff Reporter
Congress is not ignoring growing
technologies in the United States. Its
members simply don't understand
them, said former U.S. Rep. Lou
Frey, a former Florida representative
and University Law School graduate,
joined Law students for a discussion
hosted by the Michigan
Telecommunications and Technology
Law Review last night. Panelists ques-
tioned Frey on the role Congress can
play in regulating and participating in
technological advances.
"When we wrote the Communications
Act there were literally only two of us in
the 435 in the House who knew what
was in it,' Frey said.
Frey said that although government
administrators often avoid the issue for
fear of conflict with big business, many
legislators just don't understand it and
don't have the incentive to learn about it.
Lack of knowledge about the latest

Internet function is not an excuse, said
Law student Matt Lipson.
"Even if they can't understand the
technology (they should) have people
on their staff that can inform them of
it," Lipson said.
Law student Jennifer Diamantis said
members of Congress may not see an
incentive in addressing science and
technology issues. Some constituents
are concerned, however.
"It bothers me that they make deci-
sions about things they're not informed
about," Diamantis said.
The only way for government to deal
efficiently and responsibly with chang-
ing technologies is to appoint specific
officials to research the subject and
advise the rest of the government, Frey
said. Frey suggested the addition of a
cabinet-level post to oversee science
and technology.
"When you're close to the president
and he'll listen to you, you can get
things done," Frey said.
An office with similar responsibili-

ties was removed from the White House
several years ago.
"There's never been a time when it's
down lower in the political pecking
order," Frey said.
While in Congress, Frey served as
the ranking member of the House
Science and Technology Committee
and drafted the first bill to limit the
monopolizing power of AT&T.
"Competition was the only way we
could solve this problem," Frey said.
"Technology had surpassed the law."
While Congress was successful in
blocking this potential misuse of power
in the communications industry, tech-
nology is getting harder to regulate,
Frey said.
"What can Congress do to protect
my software from people stealing it?"
asked panelist and School of
Information Prof. Victor Rosenberg.
Frey said that legislation designed to
regulate technology is difficult to
enforce, especially outside of the coun-

C MI S O "'Continued from Page 1A
salary equity review and the creation
the Women's Studies Program.
Newell reminisced yesterday
about experiences she had as. the
committee chair and as Fleming's
assistant. One objection the commit-
tee had was that male music majors
were required to be members of the
Michigan Marching Band, while
female music majors were not per-
mitted to be members.
"This was so blatant," Newell said.
- Newell said she told Fleming the
problem, and he calmly replied, "The
director of the band will be retiring
shortly, and the new director will allow
Although Newell is proud of the first
commission's accomplishments, she
said it "left a tremendous number of
areas untouched." She said the mem-
bers discussed daycare, but said itv
too "radical" and "expensive." She a.
said that at that time, sexual harassment
was never discussed.
Provost J. Bernard Machen dis-
cussed the present state of equality at
the University.
"It still remains true that the higher
the rung on the academic ladder, the
fewer the women," Machen said,
Currently, women comprise 20 of the
122 department chairs, five of the 0
deans and 25 percent of senior admin-
istrators. Machen pointed out this is a
great improvement from 25 years ago,
but equality is not yet achieved.
"Vigorous efforts will be needed
to accelerate our progress," Machen
said. "Much work remains to be
done both in our society and at the
Fleming agreed that the incquality
will continue to exist.
"It's unlikely that men and worr
will see the roles of one another in the
same way," Fleming said.

Former U.S. Rep. Lou Frey of Florida answers questions from panelists at Hutchins
Hall In the Law School last night.


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