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KPMG proves Y2K impact

Tuesday, 15th February 2000

KPMG has been up to its old tricks this week, collecting statistics, analysing numbers and otherwise preparing a bundle of facts and figures to stun the world. In this case the focus of the company's desire has been the Y2K and in particular the number of problems reported. What does the study show? Well, as you might have already guessed it clearly demonstrated that the Y2K bug did strike and quite possibly, it struck pretty damned hard.

The KPMG study unearthed a number of rather worrying Y2K events. Amongst these were nine nuclear plants that were struck by the bug in the US and Japan. Satellites also suffered problems that, in the US, prevented the Pentagon from processing data received from the communication devices. And in France led to military satellites losing information. This wasn't the sum of it either, kidney machines in Scotland failed, credit cards across America went belly up - as systems failed to accept them - and, apparently, Traffic lights in Jamaica failed to operate.

All in all it seems to have been a fairly even spread of serious and non-serious impact effects. Certainly losing satellite data must be regarded as a costly - if not life threatening - problem, but even traffic light failures whilst seemingly a marginal problem could lead to fatalities. And that's not even mentioning Japanese customers having their bank details deleted or children in the UK being registered as having been born in 20200.

So what does that tell us? That the mass media missed the boat and decided to criticise the IT industry instead of hunting out more grand scale failures that so far remain hidden from the public gaze? Or that in fact the world did spend billions of dollars on something that was never going to happen. I guess you can figure that out for yourself.

-- Martin Thompson (, February 15, 2000

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