The Internet is one of the most vital, yet least regulated pieces of modern infrastructure. But, unlike aviation (FAA), medicine (FDA), food (USDA), or transportation (NTSB), the Internet was built from an idea but without a plan – at least not a plan that anyone followed. The hardware and software that is the Internet does not have the same level of reliability, or a dedicated backup plan that most systems have. Much of the hardware and software is new, but under it all are old-school technologies like cables and power systems, and old-school software that lives under layers of revisions. It may all continue to run, but it may also have fatal flaws that haven’t been triggered. ATMs work from Windows98. Government systems tend to be ten or twenty years old, partly because of government cutbacks. The failures at the NYSE and United Airlines are examples of the fragility of the systems. We have no backups. Individuals must create their own; because, if it all goes down, we may not know how to bring it back up.
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