IT failure in action: LAX

IT failure in action: LAX

Summary: CNN and the LA Times both report failure of the international arrivals screening computers at Los Angeles International Airport failed. As a result, 20,000 arriving international passengers had to wait many hours while the system was repaired.

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CNN and the LA Times both report failure of the international arrivals screening computers at Los Angeles International Airport failed. As a result, 20,000 arriving international passengers had to wait many hours while the system was repaired.

According to CNN:

A major switch in the system, which contains names of arriving passengers and law enforcement data about them, including arrest warrants, had failed and had to be replaced, said Mike Fleming, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman.

I don't understand how a large, IT-driven organization can operate without functioning business continuity plans for its major systems. In addition, I wonder about the architectural design of their screening program: is there no redundancy built in?

IT managers at private corporations are expected to maintain systems, policies, and procedures to avoid precisely this kind of failure. Government system managers should be held accountable to the same standard.

If you can provide more details about the cause of this incident, please leave a comment.

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