Y2K Is Months Away, but Sharks Are Circling

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Chilled by a possible blizzard of year 2000–bug lawsuits -- one estimate sees $1 trillion in damages -- corporations are asking the feds for help. "Because of fear of litigation, many companies are afraid of sharing information" about their readiness, says Harris Miller, president of the Information Technology Association of America. President Clinton agrees, and plans to send a bill to Congress this week designed to get companies to reveal how Y2K-OK. their computers are, in exchange for partial protection from lawsuits. "The maker of any such statement shall not be liable" for it if the company made an effort to tell the truth, a draft obtained by TIME says. But skeptics argue this lets businesses off the hook. "It's an invitation for sellers to tell their customers a product is Year-2000 compliant when it isn't," says David Friedman, professor of law and economics at Santa Clara University.