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SNET: United Nations plans SWAT team training to "control" citizens in Y2K crash

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Subject: SNET: United Nations plans SWAT team training to "control" citizens in Y2K crash
Date: Mon, 28 Dec 1998 15:34:16 EST
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Subject: Nations at UN conference suggest SWAT teams to handle Y2K
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Source: Star-Telegram.Com

Updated: Saturday, Dec. 12, 1998 at 17:58 CST 

Nations at UN conference suggest SWAT teams to handle Y2K crises

By Leslie J. Nicholson
Knight Ridder Newspapers

NEW YORK -- In a stark demonstration of the global scale of the Year 2000
computer problem, representatives of 130 nations gathered at the United
Nations Friday to hammer out plans for dealing with Y2K. 

The ideas included setting up national and international "SWAT teams" to
handle crises caused by the computer glitch.

The U.N. conference marked the first such gathering of Y2K coordinators
from several nations, including many developing countries that lag far
behind the United States in remediation efforts.

Y2K refers to a programming glitch that will cause some computers, softwar=
programs and microprocessors to interpret the abbreviated date 00 as 1900
rather than 2000. The result could be incorrect data processing and
equipment malfunctions.

"We all know that we are competing in a race against time," said Pakistani
ambassador Ahmad Kamal, who hosted the conference. "Despite all the effort=
and committed work of individuals and institutions, we are far from the
objective of ensuring Y2K compliance by the inflexible deadline of Dec. 31=

Fixing Y2K problems is a daunting task that involves rewriting computer
codes and potentially replacing billions of microchips.

U.N. Undersecretary-general Joseph E. Connor called Y2K the largest
computer project in the 50-year history of the information-technology
industry, but said predicting its effects accurately was impossible. He
said the global cost of fixing Y2K problems could reach as high as $600
billion with an additional $1.4 trillion going for litigation.

"There's no way to draw on past experience and predict what is going to
fail and what consequences these failures will have," Connor said. "All we
know for sure is the timing."

He said nations should attack Y2K on two fronts: by deciding which systems
are critical and fixing them first, and by developing contingency plans fo=
coping with computer failures.

"We have to get used to the fact that some systems and facilities will not
be addressed," Connor said.

Delegates spent most of the day in closed-door sessions to discuss Y2K
problems affecting specific industries and regions and released few detail=
of those meetings. One goal was to organize on a regional basis, including
implementing the SWAT-team idea. Kamal told reporters that such teams woul=
help nations deal with problems that cross borders, such as regional power
grid failures.

"You cannot stop at the political border of a country," he said.

Distributed by The Associated Press (AP) 

=A9 1998 Star-Telegram



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