North American Network Operators Group

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Re: what the heck do i do now?

  • From: Barry Shein
  • Date: Thu Feb 01 17:19:25 2007

On February 1, 2007 at 05:34 [email protected] (Roland Dobbins) wrote:
 > On Jan 31, 2007, at 7:04 PM, Matthew Kaufman wrote:
 > > (As an example, consider what happens *to you* if a hospital stops  
 > > getting emailed results back from their outside laboratory service  
 > > because their "email firewall" is checking your server, and someone  
 > > dies as a result of the delay)
 > Moral issues aside, I'd love to see this litigated.

About 20 years ago, probably a little more, I got a call at Boston
University from an IT admin working at a hospital in Rhode Island.

He told me IBM was making a competitive bid for the hospital's
campuswide network and was pushing hard for their own token-ring
solutions against his preferred ethernet solutions.

What he wanted me to help him think through was that IBM had told the
hospital's administration that because ethernet is designed to drop
packets (i.e., collisions, let's not quibble my quick description you
all know what I mean) that data could be LOST and a patient could DIE
and the hospital could be held LIABLE!

He said that thus far explaining TCP/IP's reliability had gone right
over their heads and all they could see were the materials about
ethernet's lossiness IBM had left with them.

I forget what I advised, I think I tried to get some other similar
players already using ethernet in touch as reference sites. It was 20+
years ago.

My only point is that this "unreliability could cause children to die,
and, worse, lawsuits!" is awfully old grist for the mill.

        -Barry Shein

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