Millennium Bug Could Cripple Washington, GAO Says

WASHINGTON (February 19, 1999 2:51 p.m. EST - Schools, police and health care services in the capital could all be hit by the computer millennium bug, a federal agency warned Friday.

Washington, whose budgetary problems are legion, only started to address the matter last June, and it is already too late to avoid all attendant problems, the General Accounting Office said.

Older-generation computer systems identify years by the last two digits only and it is feared they will be unable to distinguish between the years 2000 and 1900, leading to disruptions when the new millennium dawns.

Experts have predicted a wave of woes when 2000 kicks in as some older computers fail to carry out a variety of orders, disrupting security services, water and sewer, heating, air conditioning, automatic bank transfers and a host of other computer-related services.

According to the Washington Post, the city budgeted $31 million this year to resolve the problem but will request an additional $111 million in emergency technology aid from the federal government.

Copyright 1999 Nando Media
Copyright 1999 Agence France-Press


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