01 July 1997

BUSINESS DOCUMENTS, idle gossip and love letters were returned in their millions to senders when the international e-mail system went haywire for between twelve to eighteen hours - the first time this has happened. The crash, which occurred in the early hours of 17 July, affected thirteen 'slave' computers worldwide, including one in London's Docklands. Under control of a master computer in Virginia USA [not unadjacent to CIA HQ!], the 'slaves' monitor all e-mail to verify and route to the destination addresses. The mayhem was caused when the master computer sent faulty data to the 'slaves'. Experts say the scale of the fault was 'unprecedented' with 75% of all e-mail failing to reach its destination.