http://www.nandotimes.com/technology/story/120351p-1285701c.html [I'm game, where do I sign up? - WK] By LISA HOFFMAN , Scripps Howard News Service WASHINGTON (October 3, 2001 9:43 a.m. EDT) - After the World Trade Center collapse on Sept. 11, it took nine days for New York City to ask for help in setting up a computerized clearinghouse so families could check hospitals for their loved ones or file missing persons reports. In the meantime, relatives tried desperately to call hospitals - only to find telephone lines cut and switchboards jammed, leaving them no choice but to trudge across the city hunting for information. Rescue workers and city officials were similarly stymied by the city's telecommunications catastrophe. In its wake, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., says the nation needs a cyber-National Guard poised to spring into action after devastating events, including natural disasters, to set up information systems or otherwise quickly patch the rips in the nation's high-tech infrastructure. "It seems to me that what this country needs is essentially a technology equivalent of the National Guard, an emergency technology guard, that could be deployed in communities across the nation when we face tragedies such as we saw in New York City," said Wyden, who is chairman of the Senate subcommittee on science, technology and space. He is calling his suggested entity the National Emergency Technology Guard - or NETGuard - and envisions it as consisting of volunteers from major and medium-sized firms who would be trained in specific tasks and supplied with computer equipment, satellite dishes and other equipment needed to patch systems back together or create new ones. The guard could help hospitals collate and organize information citywide to accommodate requests for help, offers of aid and anxious queries from relatives. They could do the same for the Red Cross, which has been swamped with so many voice- and e-mails that its communications system repeatedly crashed. Few taxpayer dollars would be needed under Wyden's plan, which would call on the private sector to foot much of the bill by paying for training and supplying the hardware and software needed. "It seems to me that in our leading technology companies in this nation there are the brains and the equipment to put in place NETGuard," Wyden said in a Senate speech last week. Wyden's office said he currently is conferring with information technology executives, asking for their ideas and support. At least one isn't much impressed, at least at first blush. Harris Miller, president of the Information Technology Association of America, said he had not yet discussed the idea with Wyden, but said he didn't see the need for such a program. "It doesn't strike me as particularly necessary or appropriate," said the head of the most influential high-tech industry group in Washington. Miller said private industry already is collaborating with government to prepare for information technology disasters and manage their aftermaths. But he said he would be happy to explore the idea with Wyden. "I'm just not real sure what such a guard would do." - ISN is currently hosted by Attrition.org To unsubscribe email majordomoat_private with 'unsubscribe isn' in the BODY of the mail.
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