When things go buggy

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Computer data errors come in all shapes and sizes.
One causes a minor mishap, like a 1-cent difference
in the price of a gallon of milk because a scanner
misread the bar code. Another triggers error
avalanche, like the glitch by an East Coast credit
reporting company whose system mislabeled a file of
names as "deadbeat," thus eroding the credit rating of
1,400 upstanding citizens of Norwich, Vt.

. . .

About 38,000 employees and retirees of a major
lender found their nest egg balances adjusted
downward by as much as 16 percent when a $70
million computer accounting system error was

A large health insurance carrier spent $200 million
consolidating its computer systems, which promptly
glitched and mailed out more than $60 million in
duplicate checks and overpayments.

A bank unintentionally created 800 multimillionaires
when a minor system bug resulted in more than $763
billion being mistakenly added to those accounts.

A bar code foul-up on the return address of Cook
County, Ill., tax bills that went out at the end of
September 1999 resulted in about 900 bills being sent
to Puerto Rico.

In 1998, 60,000 people reported telephone-bill errors
to the FCC that ranged from small dollar amounts to
hundreds of dollars.


-- spider (spider0@usa.net), August 23, 2000

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