What if the Internet Were Unplugged

Last week I lost my Internet connection.  Although I had a lot of work to do, I couldn’t think of anything I could accomplish without Internet access.  It was about quarter to twelve, so I took an early lunch.

An hour later it still wasn’t working, so I made the dreaded call to my provider.  I greatly dislike doing so because they have an attitude that the problem is my fault.  It’s the technological world’s version of “guilty until proven innocence.”  After enduring numerous automated prompts and punching in an inordinate number of digits, they preformed an automatic test of my line.  They pronounced it good and — coincidently or not — my Internet connection started working shortly thereafter.

This prompted a renewed reminder of just how much I depend on the Internet to work.  It’s time to give serious thought to how I might conduct business if I were to lose Internet conductivity for a prolonged period of time.

Although it’s easy to quickly dismiss such a worry as highly unlikely, I was recently confronted with a report that a bill pending in the US Senate would give President Obama the power to turn off computer networks in the interest of national security.  Yep, that’s right.  An Internet off switch in the White House.

The feeling is that in the event of a cyber attack, no Internet would be preferred to a crippled Internet.  I presume that the course of action would be to shut the whole thing down, stop or counter the threat, and then bring it back up in a controlled and orderly manner.

That all makes sense and seems like a good course of action — until it actually happens and we can’t work.

(By the way, the Internet becomes all the more important as we discuss a response to the swine flu threat, since working from home via the Internet is the prescribed business solution in the event of a pandemic.)

What do you think? Please leave a comment!