GAO Touts Good News! Stock Trades Safe from H1N1

H1N1 is here. President Obama declared a national health emergency. Health workers and schools are worried because the vaccine is seriously behind schedule. Parents are worried about how they will stay home with their kids and keep their jobs. What are the watchdogs at the Government Accountability Office worried about? Whether or not the increased demands on Internet traffic will prevent staff from broker-dealers and other securities market participants from “teleworking” during a pandemic. Yes, that’s right. They aren’t wondering if health care workers will be able to access critical information at the Centers for Disease Control, or if critical government workers will have enough broadband to coordinate pandemic response and provide essential services. They are worried that securities traders might not have enough Internet capacity to engage in speculative trading to jack up prices on consumers. Their conclusion? “Because the key securities exchanges and clearing organizations generally use proprietary networks that bypass the public Internet, their ability to execute and process trade should not be affected by congestion.” What a relief!