Congresswoman Kelly Leads Effort to Move Government Websites into the 21st Century
Washington, DC – Congresswoman Robin Kelly, the top Democrat on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee's IT subcommittee, recently introduced the Connected Government Act. The legislation would require all future and re-designed government websites to be mobile-friendly, a standard business practice in 2017.
According to an Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) report, more than 40 percent of government websites are not mobile-friendly, but 77 percent of Americans own a smartphone and rely on them heavily for internet access.
“In 2017, it’s unreasonable that one in ten Americans cannot connect with their government because they only use mobile devices. This bill is a common sense fix that brings government websites into the 21st century,” said Congresswoman Kelly. “No business or organization would build a website without mobile optimization, why should the government?”
Mobile optimization of federal government websites is a critical equity issue for both urban and rural communities, who often rely on mobile-only Internet. According to Pew, one in ten Americans are mobile-only Internet users.
"Deep urban and remote rural communities are the most affected by our government’s failure to provide mobile-accessible websites. Without broadband coverage, these Americans are tied to the mobile-only Internet. Since my district includes part of the City of Chicago and more than 1,200 farms, I understand how this bill will have different, but equally positive impacts in urban and rural communities.”
Most disturbingly, websites criticized in the ITIF report include the access point to apply for federal student loans, FAFSA, and the starting-point for federal government grants and contracts, Federal Service Desk.
“If you happen to live in a rural community and only have a cell phone, you can’t complete your FAFSA unless you go to a library or internet café,” added Congresswoman Kelly. “Who wants to be sitting in a library with your tax forms and bank account information strewn around you?”
The Connected Government Act is co-sponsored by Congressman Frank Pallone, ranking member of the Energy and Commerce Committee.