Bonum Certa Men Certa

Bristol Council Claims it Chose Microsoft for 'Security'

Bristol coat of arms



Summary: The laughing stock of the security world is said to have been favoured because it bought some expensive certifications

A FEW months ago we wrote about a bizarre dodge from Free software [1, 2], which happened after everything seemed finalised. No proper explanation was given and those involved were questioned about the sudden change of heart (with the suspicion that something nefarious had happened). Only months later, under persistent pressure from the public and from investigative journalists, we finally see this apparent excuse, which goes like this: "It has been considering a number of open source email solutions, but Bristol City Council confirmed to eWEEK Europe UK that none of them have the necessary government security accreditation to enable the council to use them."



Is this the same reasoning which they gave to those companies? Is this an afterthought? An excuse? Being blessed by some expensive process (that carries no liability either) does not actually make the software more secure. It is not as though when Microsoft software gets cracked the certificate plays any role and somehow gives another target to point the finger at. This smells like dishonesty and since the White Houses uses Drupal and GNU/Linux, this claim holds no water, either.

There are many new examples of insecure proprietary software, one of which came last week from Novell on Windows. To quote:

"Unfortunately, a problem has been discovered with this file, which can potentially result in a system crash in certain circumstances.

The problem has been fixed, and the Client software has been re-released as Novell Client 2 SP1 for Windows (IR9a), available at: http://download.novell.com/Download?buildid=rSUN_TTVSf0~

Please remove the (IR9) build, and use the (IR9a) version instead. We regret the inconvenience.

Thank you."


How would certification have resolved such an issue? It wouldn't have. In practice, Microsoft software and proprietary software are not secure, they are just more secretive and expensive.

The tale of Bristol has been followed quite closely by Mark Ballard, who writes about excuses such as the above (excluding all Free software in one fell swoop, pretending that Microsoft is the only secure option) in the following text:

Bristol City Council's open source push has suffered another series of set-backs that point a finger of blame at CESG, the cyber security arm of government intelligence unit GCHQ.

Leaders at the local authority claim that the need for CESG security certification of e-mail systems effectively means the council has no choice but to buy Microsoft.

Senior Cabinet Office IT leaders have been asked to help as Bristol's faltering open source strategy, still showing little progress after a year, highlighted problems besetting the coalition government's own open source policy.


What a sham. As many other governments use Free software quite happily, this concern has little or no validity. It is a good excuse though -- like one an employer uses to reject a candidate for reasons that are not technical/skills-related but qualifications-related.

In other news of interest, "U.K. Liberal Democrats urge open source," but given the story of Bristol it seems like lip service. From the article:

The British government should ensure it owns all software code it pays for and should share that code for free within the public sector, says a policy paper adopted Sept. 20 by the Liberal Democrats party, the minority partner of the two-party ruling coalition forming the United Kingdom's government.

In addition, the paper urges the British government to embrace collaborative software development along the lines of models on display at GitHub, an open source software project hosting website.


Someone should tell the Lib Dems that Bristol rejects British firms that offer Free software in favour of proprietary software from a foreign company with criminal history -- software that the British public overpays for and has no control over.

Comments

Recent Techrights' Posts

Red Hat Loves Microsoft Monopoly (and Proprietary Surveillance With Back Doors)
full posting history in RedHat.com
Microsoft-Connected Sites Trying to Shift Attention Away From Microsoft's Megabreach Only Days Before Important If Not Unprecedented Grilling by the US Government?
Why does the mainstream media not entertain the possibility a lot of these talking points are directed out of Redmond?
Windows Has Fallen Below 5% in Iraq, GNU/Linux Surged Beyond 7% Based on statCounter's Stats
Must be something going on!
Read "Google Is Not What It Seems" by Julian Assange
In this extract from his new book When Google Met Wikileaks, WikiLeaks' publisher Julian Assange describes the special relationship between Google, Hillary Clinton and the State Department -- and what that means for the future of the internet
Julian Assange: Factual Timeline From an Online Friend
a friend's account
Breaking News: Assange Wins Right to Challenge Extradition to the US
This is great news, but maybe the full legal text will reveal some caveat
Brittany Day, Plagiarist in Chief (Chatbot Slinger)
3 articles in the front page of LXer.com right now are chatbot spew
Guardian Digital, Inc (linuxsecurity.com) Has Resorted to Plagiarism by Chatbots, Flooding the World Wide Web With Fake 'Articles' Wrongly Attributed to Brittany Day
busted
 
GNU/Linux Growing Worldwide (the Story So Far!)
Microsoft is unable to stop GNU/Linux
GNU/Linux in Honduras: From 0.28% to 6%
Honduras remains somewhat of a hotspot
Good News From Manchester and London, Plus High Productivity in Techrights
what has happened and what's coming
[Video] The 'Linux' Foundation Cannot be Repaired Anymore (It Sold Out)
We might need to accept that the Linux Foundation lost its way
Links 21/05/2024: Tesla Layoffs and Further Free Speech Perils Online
Links for the day
Gemini Links 21/05/2024: New Gemini Reader and Gemini Games
Links for the day
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Monday, May 20, 2024
IRC logs for Monday, May 20, 2024
[Video] Just Let Julian Assange Go Back to Australia
Assange needs to be freed
Microsoft Windows Used to Have Nearly 100% in China and Now Google Has 50% (With Android)
Will China bring about a faster "fall" for Microsoft?
The WWW declares the end of Google
Reprinted with permission from Cyber|Show
Gemini Links 20/05/2024: CMSs and Lua "Post to midnight.pub" Script Alternative
Links for the day
Brodie Robertson - Never Criticise The Linux Foundation Expenses (With Transcript)
Transcript included
Links 20/05/2024: Protests and Aggression by Beijing
Links for the day
Can an election campaign succeed without social media accounts?
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Fact check: relation to Julian Assange, founded Wikileaks at University of Melbourne and Arjen Kamphuis
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Gambia: Windows Down to 5% Overall, 50% on Desktops/Laptops
Windows was measured at 94% in 2015
Links 20/05/2024: Microsoft Layoffs and Shutdowns, RTO as Silent Layoffs
Links for the day
The Issue With Junk Traffic in Geminispace (Gemini Protocol)
Some people have openly complained that their capsule was getting hammered by bot
Peter Eckersley, Laura Smyth & the rushed closure of dial-up Internet in Australian universities
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
[Meme] Bullying the Victims
IBM: crybully of the year 2024
Ian.Community Should be Safer From Trademark Censorship
We wish to discuss this matter very quickly
Microsoft and Its Vicious Attack Dogs (Attacking Women or Wives in Particular)
Sad, pathetic, destructive people
Upcoming Series About the Campaign to 'Disappear' the Father of GNU/Linux
Today we have Julian Assange's fate to focus on
A Month From Now Gemini Protocol Turns 5
June 20
Colombia: From Less Than 0.5% to Nearly 4% for GNU/Linux
it's not limited to this one country
Rumour: Well Overdue Red Hat Layoffs to be Announced in About 3 Days
we know they've planned the layoffs for a while
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Sunday, May 19, 2024
IRC logs for Sunday, May 19, 2024
Gemini Links 20/05/2024: Updated Noto Fontpacks and gemfeed2atom
Links for the day
GNU/Linux in Georgia: Looking Good
Windows down from 99% to less than 33%
Tomorrow is a Historic Day for Press Freedom in the UK
Take note of the Julian Assange case
Hiding in a Forest Without a Phone and Hiding Behind the First Amendment in the United States (US)
some serial defamer is trying to invert the narrative
Links 19/05/2024: Iran's President Lost in Helicopter Crash, WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange Awaits Decisions in Less Than a Day
Links for the day
Links 19/05/2024: Microsoft Investigated in Europe
Links for the day
4 Old Articles About Microsoft/IBM SystemD
old but still relevant
Firefox Has Fallen to 2% in New Zealand
At around 2%, at least in the US (2% or below this threshold), there's no longer an obligation to test sites for any Gecko-based browser
Winning Streak
Free software prevalence
Links 19/05/2024: Conflicts, The Press, and Spotify Lawsuit
Links for the day
GNU/Linux+ChromeOS at Over 7% in New Zealand
It's also the home of several prominent GNU/Linux advocates
libera.chat (Libera Chat) Turns 3 Today
Freenode in the meantime continues to disintegrate
[Teaser] Freenode NDA Expires in a Few Weeks (What Really Happened 3 Years Ago)
get ready
GNU/Linux is Already Mainstream, But Microsoft is Still Trying to Sabotage That With Illegal Activities and Malicious Campaigns of Lies
To help GNU/Linux grow we'll need to tackle tough issues and recognise Microsoft is a vicious obstacle
Slovenia's Adoption of GNU/Linux in 2024
Whatever the factor/s may be, if these figures are true, then it's something to keep an eye on in the future
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Saturday, May 18, 2024
IRC logs for Saturday, May 18, 2024
Links 19/05/2024: Profectus Beta 1.2
Links for the day