U.S. government not prepared for H1N1-related Internet crash - Macleans.ca

U.S. government not prepared for H1N1-related Internet crash

Homeland Security has no strategy, unclear who is in charge


The U.S. government is not prepared for an H1N1-related Internet crash, the Washington Post reports. The federal Government Accountability Office announced earlier this week that if the flu reached pandemic proportions, a surge in flu-wary telecommuter and children accessing video files and games at home could bog down local networks. Currently, the Department of Homeland Security, which is in charge of communications networks during times of national emergency, doesn’t have a strategy to deal with overloaded networks, a major problem given that the Internet is an essential resource to keep the economy humming, and residents informed and connected during a pandemic, the GAO said. Nor has it coordinated with the FCC to create guidelines for how telecom, cable and satellite providers can minimize congestion. Such confusion “would increase the risk that the federal government will not be able to respond rapidly or effectively if a pandemic quickly emerges,” the GAO reported. The Office for Homeland Security didn’t offer much reassurance in its response, saying “it didn’t know which agency had clear or specific authority to allow telecom, cable and satellite companies to block or slow traffic to cope with congestion.”

Washington Post


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