Plan B for feds

Wednesday - 6/20/2012, 2:00am EDT

On Monday, my computer went on the blink.

Also, I left my cellphone at home.

Fortunately, I finally found another computer that wasn't being used. I did the column and some other stuff. But I couldn't get email and most of the telephone numbers I needed were stored in my AWOL phone.

That mini-crisis got me to thinking. What would I/we do if the power went off for a day, a week or a month. It could happen for lots of reasons: Solar flares, an EMP or terrorists. Or some other massive action or grid failure. Most of us (without working portable radios) wouldn't know how it happened and what if anything was being done about it. Also, it's possible the portables (along with other modern electrical equipment) might not work.

There are no typewriters in our building. And if there were any, what would we do with them? Also, lack of electricity is especially hard on radio stations.

So what would I do, other than watch Doomsday Preppers on TV (assuming the power came back on)? While it is hard to imagine and even harder to say, if I went silent for a time, the world would carry on. But what about you?

What would you do if somebody suddenly pulled the plug. How long would your agency backup generators last (assuming there are any)? How would you get in touch with people necessary to do your job?

A lot of you out there, as feds, do some pretty important stuff. Some of it vital to health, public safety and national security.

Most agencies have a Plan B. But probably very few contemplate (or have a solution for) what would happen absent electric power.

So what would you do? Could you do anything? Could you function in your job without cellphones, smartphones and computers?

Could you get to and from work if your car didn't work? Or gas stations couldn't pump gas or ATMs couldn't dispense cash?

How do you think your agency would operate if there was a massive shutdown?

Not fun stuff, but definitely more than science fiction.

Any thoughts or ideas?

Fire away.

Being hacked

By now, most TSP investors know whether their accounts were hacked. So, what's next? Last week on our Your Turn show, TSP executive director Greg Long spelled out what happened, the time line and the next steps.

Although all our shows are archived on our website, we had so many requests we're going to repeat highlights from Long's interview tomorrow at 10 a.m. We'll also have a news briefing from Federal Times editor Steve Watkins and senior writer Sean Reilly.


NEARLY USELESS FACTOID

By Jack Moore

It would take the average American 30 full working days to read the privacy policies of all the websites he or she visits each year, according to an analysis prepared by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University. The privacy policies surveyed ranged from as little as 144 words to 7,669 words, which is about 15 pages of text.

(h/t Harper's magazine)


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