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UK Govt website keels under weight of terror bomb report

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Application security programs and practises

At last, the long-awaited Intelligence & Security Committee report on the London 7 July 2005 bomb attacks is here, and out chunters the release via gnn.gov.uk. The release, issued on behalf of the Cabinet Office, tells us that the report is available at the ISC's "web site", and directs us here, which at time of writing housed a splendid document on intelligence assessments of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

You could say that you could not make it up, but as the old report (last updated 5/8/2005, it says here) was pertinent to their having made it up, under the circumstances you probably wouldn't.

Never mind, it's a Cabinet Office release, so click on news, news releases, and (again, we stress, at time of writing) nothing had actually happened there for a week. OK, back to www.gnn.gov.uk and start at the beginning again. "Sorry" (it says here), "Unauthorised access.

"Under The Computer Misuse Act (1990), it is a criminal offence to facilitate or obtain access to computer material and electronic data without authorisation. Please contact the GNN News Distribution Service for help." Or possibly to arrange one's arrest. Never mind, click on "Go to the homepage", which ought to field you through to GNN's default.asp and, nope, here they are threatening you again. One more click and maybe you should get the toothbrush packed.

OK, skip the link in the release text (which we got to in the first place via the external (and therefore operational) The Government Says RSS feed, and try the apparently more convoluted link over on the right hand side of the page.* Nope, arrested again. Try link again from the RSS feed - ah yes, the whole shooting match seems to have fallen over, and it's just an everyday story of UK Government Internet buggeration.

Last week Tony Blair stressed to Hazel Blears how important it was to Labour Party to maximise its use of the internet. Obviously, he's stuffed. ®

* Update: This one now works, as, unusually, does the link in the release text. Dud links are so common in these things, we suspect wrong links in press releases and statements may be a Whitehall rule. The Government's response to the report is also now up, and reader Pav claims to have spotted the text "On 7 July 2006 fifty-two people were killed in the terrorist attacks ..." But we think wherever that might have been, they've fixed it too. Anyway, that's enough updates. Oh alright, one more update. The 2006 date is in Paul Murphy's covering letter to Tony Blair, included in the PDF of the report. As this is a PDF, fixing it may take them some years.

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