[ Text Version ]

October 22, 1998


Re: The Signing into Law by President Clinton of the Year 2000 Information and Readiness Disclosure Act

On October 19, 1998, President Clinton signed into law the Year 2000 Information and Readiness Disclosure Act. This legislation is the product of months of hard work by the White House, Congress, and members of the commercial sector. It is a positive contribution to the nation's efforts to respond to the Year 2000 date conversion. This legislation encourages and promotes voluntary Year 2000 information sharing by establishing certain liability limitations, clarifying the applicability of antitrust laws, and promoting the use of the World Wide Web for information sharing. In addition, the legislation directs the Government Services Administration to set up a National Year 2000 website to act as a clearinghouse for year 2000 information.

I encourage members of the communications industry to take advantage of the opportunities in this new law. There has been, up to this point, a certain degree of reticence among certain members of the industry, who fear that any statement they make concerning their year 2000 efforts might be used against them. As a result, companies have had to engage in needless recreations of assessments, fixes, and tests. This new legislation promotes information sharing, increasing the ability of industry to timely prepare and test for the year 2000.

The protections of the new legislation extend to voluntary Year 2000 Statements made since July 14, 1998. It also provides additional protections to Year 2000 Readiness Disclosures made after October 19, 1998. Year 2000 Statements made prior to October 19, 1998, but after January 1, 1996, can gain the added protections of Year 2000 Readiness Disclosures, but only if the maker of the statements meets the requirements of the new legislation within 45 days from October 19. This legislation demonstrates the government's willingness to take prompt action in response to industry concerns in order to facilitate remediation of the Y2K problem. I fully expect industry to demonstrate its similar commitment to the cause by providing timely and useful information that can be shared with government, industry, and the public.