Why are governments still using floppy disks?
Are some officials just feeling nostalgic?
Floppy disks have been seen as obsolete since the 90s, but the US is using them to control its nuclear missiles. Meanwhile, Norway used them to share patient records with doctors.
Why are governments still using such ancient technology? They do not believe that the cloud is secure enough, and less-connected devices are harder to hack.
The US Department of Defence plans to replace its nuclear floppy disks with “secure digital cards” by the end of next year. But this would still not be a centrally connected system to control its nuclear bombs.
Doctors in Norway received a floppy disk every month from the government with a list of their patients.
Computers used to copy the data from the disks were “required by contract to be air-gapped”, meaning they could not be connected to any network, writes Finn Espen Gundersen, a floppy disk contractor to the government.
The Norwegian government only this year closed down floppy disk distribution. Instead, doctors will get the data through paper printouts, which must be keyed into a computer at the doctor’s office - this could be more prone to errors than a floppy disk.
It’s not so much nostalgia, but the threats of today’s technologies that are keeping some governments to technology from the 70s.