Been to a USGS site today?
December 7, 2001 10:27 AM   Subscribe

Been to a USGS site today? What about your favorite national park site? Probably not, since all are part of the U.S. Department of the Interior, whose external network connections have been severed due to electronic security concerns raised by the court in the case Cobell v. Norton (formerly Cobell v. Babbitt).

With no external email or access to the Internet could you do your job? How dependent is your workplace on electronic information access? (Since all their websites are down, I have no direct link to post. A copy of the memo was sent to the members by the admin of a USGS email distribution list.)
posted by carobe (16 comments total)
I couldn't. I use various web apps for almost everything I do. When our connection is down, I just sit here and wait. Furthermore, Instant Messaging is practically the backbone of communications among my co-workers, since we are spread all over the U.S. and England.
posted by culberjo at 10:36 AM on December 7, 2001

How dependent is your workplace on electronic information access?

Not to mention those of us who are dependent on information from the USGS. Come back, streamflow data, come back.

I think my day is imploding.
posted by iceberg273 at 10:38 AM on December 7, 2001

i am on a USGS "big quakes" mailing list - here's a portion of the memo i rec'd in an email this morning:

Subject: Disconnecting E-mail and Internet Access
Date: Thu, 6 Dec 2001 15:27:31 -0500
From: Director'

From: Chip Groat

To: All USGS Employees Nationwide

Subject: Disconnecting E-mail and Internet Access

At the direction of the Office of the Secretary, the USGS has been ordered to immediately disconnect all of its external network connections due to security concerns of the Court in the Cobell v. Norton case. As a result, all USGS users will not be able to:

· Send or receive Internet email
· Send or receive email outside of USGS
· Access the Internet
· Access FPPS

In addition, all USGS customers will not be able to:

· Access USGS web pages
· Send email or receive email from USGS

These measures were ordered by the Court after the Special Master for the Cobell litigation hired a contractor to conduct penetration testing of Indian Trust Management systems resulting in a compromise of those systems. As a result, all Bureaus must take these measures.

Cost centers that have their own ISP service must work with their provider to filter all public access to their web and email. Cost centers should provide a contact name and phone number to receive notification of ability to reinstate services.

It is unknown at this time how long these measures will be in place. The Department is working with the Court to discuss the security of our systems and the restoration of the affected connections. In the interim, users may wish to contact their frequent business contacts and make arrangements to conduct business by telephone and fax. I understand that these measures have serious consequences to our ability to meet our mission and I ask for your understanding until such time as the Court sees fit to allow us to restore these services.

posted by modge at 10:42 AM on December 7, 2001

ParkNet is up, btw.
posted by iceberg273 at 10:48 AM on December 7, 2001

Yep. That's the list.
posted by carobe at 10:49 AM on December 7, 2001

I'm a web designer. I think my day would pretty much be shot.
posted by schlaager at 11:03 AM on December 7, 2001

I'm a web designer, too. Network outages certainly slow us down, but they don't bring us to a hault. We use networks to execute and deliver our concepts, but not to create them. I prefer pencils, paper, whiteboards, and our minds, all of which are more reliable than a bunch of 1's and 0's being sent through a pipe.
posted by johnjreeve at 11:27 AM on December 7, 2001

I couldn't get to ParkNet. If you need info about a park (like if you're going to a park this weekend and need a map and visitor info), try GORP.
posted by Holden at 12:09 PM on December 7, 2001

Quick, someone sue them!
posted by rushmc at 12:20 PM on December 7, 2001

Just goes to show that you can't hire competent network-security people on what the Federal Government is willing to pay. I used to work as a contractor to the Feds (USDOT), and let me tell you, that's where all the C-average CS majors go when they can't get hired in private industry.
posted by mrmanley at 12:52 PM on December 7, 2001

Maybe the Dept. of the Interior will take seriously how they've been handling Idian money now.
posted by fleener at 1:23 PM on December 7, 2001

er, Indian.
posted by fleener at 1:23 PM on December 7, 2001

Speaking of internet dependancies.. I use Backflip to hold my bookmarks (and it's easy to add new ones) so I can get at them from work or home -- but Backflip appears to be 'gone' right now, and has been all day.

Does anyone else worry about losing a site to the dotcom backlash that contains useful info or tools? (Keeping in mind that most of us are smart enough not to store _important_ information online..)
posted by fnirt at 1:25 PM on December 7, 2001

We had a fairly severe internet outage at work yesterday (one of our router guys made a colossal booboo). While it was something that could have been fixed during the day the decision was made to leave it as it was, since our customers could still receive our data and our management wanted to be sure that there was no disruption for them. Those of us on the company network were just prevented from getting any outside mail or accessing any Web sites.

I hated it.

On the other hand, it did leave me a lot of time for redesigning some search and sort procedures for the intranet site that I run, so it did me some good.

I couldn't deal with it for more than a day, though. By about six o'clock I was about ready to pull my hair out.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:29 PM on December 7, 2001

With no external email or access to the Internet could you do your job? How dependent is your workplace on electronic information access?

I could probably get by for most of a day, but it'd be strange. I work at home, a couple of thousand miles from company headquarters; most of my communication with coworkers and customers happens through email. The work I do is checked into a version control system - over the internet, of course. There are five developers, and two of us are off-site - we couldn't live very long without the 'net.

posted by Mars Saxman at 4:59 PM on December 7, 2001

Interior Loses Internet for Day: AP story tells why the shutdown happened.
posted by Carol Anne at 8:41 AM on December 8, 2001

« Older   |   Obviously Bud Selig is lying to Congress. Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments