Somewhere in the Arabian Sea, one of the most heavily protected ships in the U.S. Navy is sending out around 30,000 emails a day as everyone from captain to deck swabber keeps in touch with the folks back home.
"We don't limit who they send email to, we educate the crew on the kind of things they can't discuss, for instance the location of the ship and what kind of operations we're involved in" says Deb, who manages the U.S.S. Carl Vinson's computer system.
The ship's library is fitted with a dozen internet terminals which are occupied almost constantly by sailors squeezing in a few minutes in a busy day to write home and check on the news.
Network manager Deb from Salem in Oregon has been working as a data processor and systems manager in the navy for 25 years and she's seen some big changes. The latest system, which boasts 93 miles of twisted pair cable, 23 miles of fiber optic cable and 16 servers, was completed in August 2000.
"This is the first cruise that people have had pretty ready access to a computer to do their own email," Deb said. "It's made a tremendous difference."
All the internet connections on the Carl Vinson run by satellite and the line is not the most reliable or the speediest, so Deb says email is more popular than browsing. Internet shopping, however, is very popular with books, CDs and magazines among the top orders.
Deb has eight people working full time on Internet security, checking for viruses. "We're pretty aggressive when it comes to information security," she says, proud of the fact that the ship has never been hacked. "If there is any kind of a virus threat and it's a malicious virus, while there is some chance we may lose some of our data we cut ourselves off."
News source: Reuters