How badly can one computer glitch affect an organization? If that organization is the U.S. State Department, it can grind international travel to a halt, by essentially shutting down the visa process! Here’s what happened, and how far-reaching the effects were.
It took 100 computer experts a week to fix a hardware problem it had uncovered that was keeping the system from recognizing biometric data (such as fingerprints) of international visa applicants. As a result, it held up tourists, workers and family members looking to get into the country.
Among the long-reaching effects during the shutdown:
- 12 Ultimate Fighting Championship athletes weren’t able to get their visas to securely enter the country to compete in a Florida championship match
- Foreign students expected to attend West Virginia’s prestigious National Youth Science Camp were delayed, with the month-long program already one week in, and
- The Washington Farm Labor Association, which expected 12,000 to 15,000 guest workers to come help pick fruit between June and November, may see fruit die on the vine or lose crops completely.