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1997-08-12 08:33:11


States Fear the Feds' Computers



The SEATTLE TIMES (Aug. 11) reported that y2k officials in some states are afraid of corrupt data from Federal computers.

This problem is very real. The problem is, it applies to corrupt data from every computer. Why not include banks? Other states? Suppliers? Counties?

"If they (the feds) don't get their act together," warned Steve Kolodney of Washington state's Department of Information Services, "it's likely the information they pass to us will enter our system in a corrupted way, and if that's the case, we'll have to build fire walls out there."

He compared the corrupt data to a virus. Such things as statistics get transferred to other data bases. You have to fix them all over again.

One expert said that a compliant state may have to insist that all data from noncompliant states are sent on paper.

One official is trying to arrange a conference between states and the Federal government, but the feds have not responded yet.

"Without a comprehensive national approach, independent state and federal agency `fixes' will likely be developed that could significantly disrupt the delivery of essential public services throughout the nation," Larry Olson, chief technology officer for Pennsylvania, said in a July 28 letter to OMB. [Office of Management and Budget.]


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