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Summary and Comments

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Category: 

Imported_Data

Date: 

1997-01-13 00:00:00

Subject: 

No Date Standard = Chaos in Year 2000

Comment: 

Compliance inside a system does not assure compliance with outside systems. The two systems have to be designed to be compliant with each other before either is repaired. For example, the date system must be the same. The four-digit entry for a year must be in the same location in both systems.

Problem: there is no agreement here. There is no standard. There is no agency coordinating the repairs. See the letter from Mr. Chris Murphy of Social Securtity.

Mr. Murphy is responding to a question on seemingly non-compliant date standards. He responds by admitting that there is no standard -- just recommendations -- within the U.S. government. Then he tries to explain the seeming confusion of the standards. Does anyone seriously think that there will not be chaos in the year 2000 when standards are this confusing and not even enforceable? If all the government can do is "highly recommend" a standard, then there is no standard. If there is no standard, there will be chaos. Now, multiply this across every government, bank, and computer- driven system on earth.

> >Date: Fri, 03 Jan 97 10:46:40 EST >From: CHRIS.MURPHY@ssa.gov > > > >In a CDC White Paper on the Yr2k issue, there occurs the following > >two paragraphs with no comment on how strange that two agencies of > >the Federal Government has adopted such different standards. How > >much confusion will this create? > ======== > >The U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has > >adopted a date format standard of an 8 digit date represented as: > >century century/year year/month month/day day (CCYYMMDD) > > > >Likewise, the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) has adopted > >as a general approach an expanded record format to accommodate > >century information. For example, where a date was previously shown > >as month month/day day/year year (MMDDYY), they will now show the > >date as month month/day day/century century/year year (MMDDCCYY). > >They will be providing this format in their output records and will > >need to receive them in this format in files and records they receive > >from external sources. They plan to be fully compliant no later than > >the end of 1998. > > > As an employee of the Social Security Administration who has > participated in some of the discussions of the Interagency Year 2000 > Workgroup, let me try to explain the apparent inconsistency. What > appears below is the NIST's text from their home page regarding the > Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) for date > representation: > > *To assist Federal Government organizations in preparing for the > *Year 2000, NIST issued the following Change Notice to FIPS 4-1 on > *March 25, 1996: > * > *FIPS PUB 4-1, Representation for Calendar Date and Ordinal Date > * for Information Interchange > * > *Department of Commerce > *National Institute of Standards and Technology > *Computer Systems Laboratory > *Gaithersburg, MD 20899 > * > *Specific Change > * > *Page 2: In reference to paragraph 10, Specifications: > * > *For purposes of electronic data interchange in any recorded form > *among U.S. Government agencies, NIST highly recommends that > *four-digit year elements be used. The year should encompass a > *two-digit century that precedes, and is contiguous with, a > *two-digit year-of-century (e.g., 1999, 2000, etc.). In addition, > *optional two-digit year time elements specified in ANSI > *X3.30-1985(R1991) should not be used for the purposes of any data > *interchange among U.S. Government agencies. > * > *Copies of FIPS are available from: > * > *National Technical Information Service (NTIS) > * ATTN: Sales Office, Sills Building > * 5285 Port Royal Road > * Springfield, VA 22161 > * > * Phone - (703) 487-4650 > * > * Office Hours - 7:45am to 5:00pm > * > *Mention of any product, service, company, or individual at this > *source does not constitute a recommendation or endorsement, > *explicit or implicit, intentional or implied, by the National > *Institute of Standards and Technology. > > Note that this NIST change does NOT show the year as coming either > before or after the month and day. The full text of the FIPS standard > may do so (is D.T. Bath still here?). > > Therefore, both NIST and SSA are in agreement that dates being > exchanged between organizations should have a 4-digit year field. > > I hope this resolves the confusion that may be caused by Dr. Kurland's > interpretation of the CDC white paper. > > Chris Murphy > Computer Specialist > Social Security Administration > > CHRIS.MURPHY@ssa.gov > > > > ****


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