As you've probably heard, the government is in the process of shutting down due to an unresolved budget. This has happened before, such as in 1995, but the high tech world we live in today was merely in its infancy and we've never seen our world with that kind of government crisis. So how's the government shutdown of April 2011 going to affect you, the consumer in a high tech world?
Nonessential activity is the basis of this shutdown technologically speaking and will be shut down. While the IRS will remain open and operating through its web site and in general, nonessential activities will be shut down. They'll still be in business for Tax Day no matter what! Web sites for these nonessential agencies and locations will be stopped as well. Museums like the Smithsonian and the National Archives will be closed as those expenditures are not necessary to the well being of the American people.
The web sites of places like these, as well as other departments within the government whose work isn't necessary right now, will stop being updated. And that's even if you'll be able to access them. The White House directed the sites of nonessential departments to block access to the website with a memo stating that access will be denied as long as the government shutdown is in effect. You'll just have to wait until the shutdown and budget are resolved.
Government issued BlackBerrys or laptops must also be permanently shut down while this is in effect. Any nonessential work must be halted completely. The government will not be in charge of any expenditures it does not deem essential and these are one of them. Some government workers will be forced to return the items to their offices while others will just be trusted to not use them. It's unknown what sort of reprimand one would face if they were used, but who knows what the government is capable of though it would probably just consist of paying those charges out of pocket.
There could be a litany of other consequences in the tech world for the government shutdown if it lasts a substantial amount of time. The fact of the matter is that we don't know what's going to happen but these are the consequences that are readily apparent. There could very well be more so watch out. Nobody knows what's coming.