Menu
Almost 200,000 people may have been affected by US visa system crash

Almost 200,000 people may have been affected by US visa system crash

Recovery efforts are being hampered by 'outdated software and hardware,' a government spokeswoman said

Marie Harf, State Dept. spokeswoman, speaks at a news conference on July 31, 2014

Marie Harf, State Dept. spokeswoman, speaks at a news conference on July 31, 2014

Computer problems with the U.S. State Department's system for issuing passports and visas may have affected up to 200,000 people, it emerged Thursday, as the scale of the problem became clear for the first time.

The problems began July 20 when engineers from Oracle and Microsoft applied a software patch to the State Department's Consular Consolidated Database, which handles millions of passport and visa applications in the U.S. and at its embassies and consulates around the globe.

The patch was intended to solve several months of instability but instead crashed the system, which did not come back online until July 23.

"From the start of the operational issues on July 20th through the 28th, we issued more than 180,000 non-immigrant visas globally," said Marie Harf, a State Department spokeswoman, at a televised briefing Thursday. "Based on our average production figures, we would have anticipated issuing closer to 370,000 in that same time period."

The State Department now faces a massive backlog in applications, and Harf said it would take "weeks to restore full visa-issuing capacity."

The government is prioritizing immigrant and adoption visas and there are no significant delays issuing passports, she said.

The initial instability that required installing the patch hasn't been identified, and Harf said the full recovery of the system is being hampered by its age.

"We are limited in part by our outdated software and hardware, which we are attempting to work to fix," she said.

Oracle and Microsoft aren't talking about the issue.

"We decline to comment," said Jessica Moore, a senior director at Oracle's brand communications division.

A representative from Microsoft's PR agency said he would "look into" the matter but had yet to supply additional information.

Despite the crash, it looks like Oracle will be getting more business from the State Department. The department said it plans to upgrade to a newer version of Oracle's database by the end of the year and build two fully redundant systems.

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Government use of ITdatabasesapplicationsMicrosoftsoftwareU.S. Department of StategovernmentOracle

Slideshows

Top 50 defining moments of the New Zealand channel in 2016

Top 50 defining moments of the New Zealand channel in 2016

Reseller News looks back on a tumultuous 12 months for the New Zealand channel, assessing the fallout from a year of sizeable industry change. Whether it be local or global mergers and acquisitions, distribution deals or job changes, the channel that started the year differs somewhat to the one set to finish it - Reseller News assesses the key moments that made 2016.​

Top 50 defining moments of the New Zealand channel in 2016
​Hewlett Packard Enterprise honours high achieving NZ channel

​Hewlett Packard Enterprise honours high achieving NZ channel

Hewlett Packard Enterprise honoured its top performing Kiwi partners at the second running of its HPE Partner Awards in New Zealand, held at a glitzy ceremony in Auckland. Recognising excellence across eight categories - from distributors to resellers - the tech giant celebrated its first year as a standalone company, following its official split from HP in 2015.

​Hewlett Packard Enterprise honours high achieving NZ channel
Nutanix treats channel partners to Christmas cruise

Nutanix treats channel partners to Christmas cruise

Nutanix recently took to the seas for a Christmas Cruise around Sydney Harbour with its Australia and New Zealand staff, customers and partners to celebrate a stellar year for the vendor. With the sun out, they were all smiles and mingled over drinks and food.

Nutanix treats channel partners to Christmas cruise
Show Comments