Lawmakers Concerned About ``Millennium Bug''

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Reuters

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Mar 25, 1997, 3:00:00 AM3/25/97
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<I><A HREF='http://www.clari.net/'>ClariNet</A> <CLARI-ITEM TYPE>story</CLARI-ITEM> <B><CLARI-ITEM SLUGWORD>BUSINESS-COMPUTERS</CLARI-ITEM></B> from <CLARI-ITEM FROM>Reuters</CLARI-ITEM></I><BR>
<H1><CLARI-ITEM HEADLINE>Lawmakers Concerned About ``Millennium Bug''</CLARI-ITEM></H1>
<I><B><CLARI-ITEM COPYRIGHT>Copyright 1997 by Reuters</CLARI-ITEM></B></I> / <I><CLARI-ITEM DATE>Tue, 25 Mar 1997 3:54:13 PST</CLARI-ITEM></I><P>
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<P> WASHINGTON (Reuter) - A group of lawmakers say they are
concerned about the potential hazard to consumers from the
so-called ``millennium bug'' which, if not corrected, will
disrupt computer systems when the year changes to 2000.</P>
<P> They called on federal regulatory agencies to assess the
possible consequences of the problem and for manufacturers to
determine which products may be affected.</P>
<P> The problem is in computer software and microchips that will
read 2000 as 1900. Microchips that could be affected are used in
products such as security systems, parking lot gates, telephone
systems, automatic teller machines, sprinkler systems, video
recorders, medical devices, and factory machinery, said Rep.
Stephen Horn, a California Republican.</P>
<P> ``Where there is failure, the economic and legal
consequences could be substantial,'' Horn said Monday. ``We are
concerned that technological failure may also present health and
safety problems.''</P>
<P> The lawmakers said they were sending a congressional
oversight letter to various regulatory agencies, such as the
Federal Trade Commission, that have power to increase public
awareness.</P>
<P> ``If this letter and current regulatory authority prove
insufficient to raise the profile of this issue and to get the
attention of manufacturers making defective products, Congress
will have to consider legislation,'' Horn said.</P>
<P> ``Whether it is the corruption of financial information or
the breakdown of countless consumer products, we know that the
ultimate legal cost could be two to three times greater than the
costs of repairing and replacing faulty software and
microchips,'' he said.</P>
<P> The letter asked the agencies whether they had communicated
with private industry about the potential consequences of the
problem.</P>
<P> Rep. Carolyn Maloney, a New York Democrat, said in a
statement she was calling on the manufacturing industry to begin
a thorough assessment of which commercial products have embedded
chips that could cause failure on Jan. 1, 2000.</P>
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