Feeds

Busy signal at 911?

Emergency callers left hanging on

The essential guide to IT transformation

A software update on Monday night left Louisville residents unable to call 911 for help. For 2 hours the 32 phone lines were jammed, with dispatchers unable to disconnect the calls they had taken previously.

The error was related to the enhanced 911 system, designed to show dispatchers the addresses and telephone numbers of callers. The software upgrade was considered routine, although the results it produced by 9pm were anything but. By 11pm the telephone company had rerouted the lines to restore service and workers scrambled to call back anyone who had called during the outage, using the telephone records as reference.

Software glitches such as this are at the extreme end of things, but even more routine errors can cost lives - database errors listing the wrong address are common, and cause emergency personnel to be misdirected, preventing them from getting to where they are really needed.

With billions of dollars being poured into securing critical infrastructure from terrorism, software bugs are often overlooked - yet they can create the same devastating results as systems become increasingly complex.

Copyright © 2005, SecurityFocus

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Microsoft boots 1,500 dodgy apps from the Windows Store
DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! Naughty, misleading developers!
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
This is how I set about making a fortune with my own startup
Would you leave your well-paid job to chase your dream?
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?