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Y2K's Human Problems

At least half a trillion dollars has been spent to fix or upgrade the nation's computers to avoid the Y2K problem, or a computer's inability to read the year 2000 correctly.

But a few related problems are not suited to a technological fix. They require an adjustment of thinking:

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*One of these is the rise of Y2K-related scams. Many crooks posing on the phone as IRS agents, bank officers, or others who might be concerned about Y2K computer issues try to pry credit-card numbers and other personal financial data from unsuspecting victims.

The elderly are often their targets. What's needed is vigilance - by those with computers and by law-enforcement officials.

*Another problem: the possibility that computer hackers might break into secure systems in hopes their action might be confused with a Y2K problem. Computer experts have already ready detected some software "viruses" timed to activate on Jan. 1. President Clinton's top adviser on Y2K matters has appealed to hackers not to heighten tensions on New Year's weekend.

*In a third area of concern, we can all take a direct hand. That's the need to temper the fear and anxiety artificially attached to this change of dates. The coming millennium is best characterized not by a supposed shadow of doom, but by the promise of progress.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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