GAO’s reports and testimonies give Congress, federal agencies, and the public timely, fact-based, non-partisan information that can improve government operations and save taxpayers billions of dollars.
In October 2008, Congress passed the Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property Act of 2008 (PRO-IP Act), to improve the effectiveness of U.S. government efforts to protect intellectual property (IP) rights such as copyrights, patents, and trademarks.
Intellectual property plays a significant role in the U.S. economy, and the United States is an acknowledged leader in its creation. Industries that relied on IP protection were estimated to account for over half of all U.S. exports and employed about 18 million Americans in 2006.
In 1936, the Social Security Administration established the Social Security number (SSN) to track worker's earnings for Social Security benefit purposes. Since its creation, the SSN has evolved beyond its original purpose and has become the identifier of choice for public and private sector entities.
Federal agencies rely extensively on computerized information systems and electronic data to carry out their missions. The security of these systems and data is essential to prevent data tampering, disruptions in critical operations, fraud, and inappropriate disclosure of sensitive information.
The use of wireless networks is becoming increasingly popular. Wireless networks extend the range of traditional wired networks by using radio waves to transmit data to wireless-enabled devices such as laptops. They can offer federal agencies many potential benefits but they are difficult to secure.