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Y2K Will Have Only 'Moderate' Impact - Report

The Y2K computer bug is expected to cause numerous errors in worldwide computer systems, however the combined impact will only be moderate, a United Nations-created information clearing house says.

The final report of the International Y2K Cooperation Center said they expected most critical computer systems will function “about as well as they normally do in the first days of the new year."

However people can expect disruptions in many services such as electricity generation and supply as computer errors that don’t quite shut down systems will lead to “degraded performance”.

The report says the world will be well into January before a considered assessment can be made into the medium term effects of the Y2K disruptions.

"We expect few serious Y2K-caused effects in energy, telecommunications, finance, transportation, customs and immigration, food and water infrastructures" in early January, the report said.

However it did cite a medium to high risk that Y2K-related errors could adversely affect public health and safety early on, especially in developing countries and in smaller, less-prepared organizations.

"Life is full of risks," the report said. "Y2K creates additional risks in some areas. Fortunately, the risk from Y2K throughout the world is decreasing as readiness increases."

Bruce McConnell, a former White House information technology expert on temporary duty as head of the global Y2K center, said the majority of businesses and governments would experience only limited damage from the bug.

"Although there will be many Y2K-caused errors, the combined negative effect of these errors will be moderate," he said in a statement.


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