Internet Failure Disrupts India, Middle East

February 01, 2008 10:08 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
An Internet outage in India, the Middle East and North Africa highlights the global economy's vulnerability to high-tech breakdowns.

30-Second Summary

On Jan. 31, business activity stalled in large areas of Asia, the Middle East and North Africa because of disruptions in Internet and phone services. The outage has been blamed on a severed cable in the Mediterranean Sea. Experts say the problem could take weeks to fix.

In December 2006, a powerful earthquake disrupted high-tech services in huge parts of Asia, slowing down commerce for days.

“Even with all the technological advances we have come up with in the course of human history, it only takes one calamity ... to bring us back to the dark ages,” J. Angelo Racoma, assistant editor of the Blog Herald, wrote two days after the quake.

A report by the Business Roundtable, an association of CEOs of large American companies, says that an Internet collapse would reduce output and profits, cause stocks to fall and stop consumer spending. The group classified the risk of such a collapse as “urgent and real.”

But the BR does not represent the only opinion on the matter. There are those who say there is no need to worry.

“When hurricanes disrupt traffic along the East Coast of the United States, traffic is seamlessly routed to the West Coast. And when a domain name server goes down, an alternate server picks up the traffic,” wrote Computer World citing Patrick Cain, chairman of a network security working group of the Internet Engineering Task Force.

Michael Long, a senior official at Siemens Medical Solutions, said his company does not rely so heavily on the Internet, but that it is prepared for an emergency.

Headline Links: Internet down on two continents

Background: The 2006 Taiwan earthquake

Opinion & Analysis: An Internet-centered economy is vulnerable

Reference: The U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team


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