Will Pentagon GPS test effect banks?

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I have just read 'Time Bomb 2000' and on page 154 it states that the GPS system is widely used in many of the major banks in the US as a standard mechanism for recording the time of day. Because the accuracy of the GPS atomic clocks is among the highest in the world, and because it can be accessed by anyone with a GPS receiver, thousands of financial systems use GPS for their time calculations' they need the accuracy of GPS, because interest calculations on multi-billion dollar loans is sometimes calculated to the nearest millisecond.

I was wondering if anyone knows any more about this and if the Pentagon's test will have any effect on banks, or have the banks already addressed this potential problem?

-- Scared (Less@home.com), February 21, 1999


Pentagon GPS test story is at

http://www.cnn.com/US/9902/19/PM-Pentagon- satellite.ap/

-- Scared (Less@home.com), February 21, 1999.

SInce this is:

a)Controled; and

b) very localized, you should see no effect on the banks.

Or so we all should hope. I would expect that the banks under the cone will be able to correct any problems as the other banks involved in any transactions would be able to recognize the problem.

Chuck, da Night Driver

-- Chuck, night driver (rienzoo@en.com), February 21, 1999.

Guess this will answer some of the wilder speculations I have seen about bad GPS data blowing out the banks! If they have no trouble by the end of the week, can we move away from the GPS/EOW scenario?

-- Paul Davis (davisp1953@yahoo.com), February 21, 1999.

Unless your bank is flying above or sailing the waters around North Carolina, it won't affect them. Modern GPS receivers and navigation algorithms usually use 5 satellites (with a minimum of 3 required). My understanding of the test is that the ships involved in the test will be in the geographic area in the footprint of 3 satellites only - imagine the signals as cones propogating from the satellites and reduced footprint size (cone diameters) as you increase altitude. That's why planes at 40,000+ feet maylose signal from 3 satellites. Flying at cruise altitude, the crews won't even notice. The aircraft will not be "affected." If the crew absolutely must know where they are at that particular minute over the ocean--they can check the compass or VOR or RNAV. The onboard GPS receiver will have picked up other satellite signals by the time they figure out they lost signal in the first place.

Most banks in the world do not use GPS. Banks that do have other timing mechanisms, through phone connections, that are available as back-up against extended GPS outages. This test should not affect any bank transaction. If it does, than that bank is staffed by idiots - I always have to qualify a statement with "should not" because there are a few idiots in the world. That being said, there are also a few smart people working at banks and other businesses.

While I applaud Ed's book for the awareness value it had and continues to have, his experiences shaped his view of the business world and technology. He has consistently said that he is no prophet and has no crystal ball. His projections for serious FY rollover problems the first of February for many major U.S. companies didn't happen. I am no prophet either, but my experiences told me that rollover problems would not be significant and my stated predictions came to pass. That's good news and he'd be the first to say it. My experiences with GPS tell me that this test and the reset in August will not be a significant event--in many ways because Ed's book prompted some organizations to consider contigencies and plan for a reset that some had actually forgotten about.

As all encompassing as his book is (and it should be considered a work-in-progress) he cannot be expected to be right about all facets of civilization, business or technology. This does not lessen the value. May I suggest there are things more significant to wory about than isolated GPS tests and the August reset? Taking a page from the 1992 Clinton campaign: "It's the economy -- stupid."

-- PNG (png@gol.com), February 21, 1999.

Uhhh, Scared...I wasn't directing that quote at you. It's just what Clinton's advisors kept telling him.

-- PNG (png@gol.com), February 22, 1999.

I worked at a bank until last December. We transmitted checking debits to other banks to credit loans at our banks. I had a type of 'smart card' that transmitted to an LED screen on the card a PIN number type code that the main computer in another state verified to be sure I was authorized to transmit through the system. My understanding of that technology was that it used GPS timing to verify my PIN number in a matter of seconds. Any techies out there more familiar with the technology?

-- bogie man (stonie1012@aol.com), February 22, 1999.

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