Feeds

OGC shreds identity scheme documents

Drastic measures to bar scrutiny

Security for virtualized datacentres

The Office of Government Commerce (OGC) has taken to treating its "Gateway" reviews of government IT projects like classified official documents as pressure mounts to have them opened to public scrutiny.

The OGC, HM Treasury's procurement sheriff, has ordered civil servants to "securely destroy" all copies of Gateway reviews of the politically sensitive and much criticised National Identity Scheme (NIS) and National Programme for IT (NPfIT), according to Computer Weekly.

Only two copies of the reports will be retained - one each for the senior responsible owner (the departmental project boss) and the OGC executive overseeing the review. People who are asked verbally to comment on the contents of a Gateway review are supposed to "say they are not 'actively published or disclosed'".

Unlike classified government documents, the publication of a Gateway review would not endanger national security or threaten anyone's lives. Yet it could cause the government embarrassment, particularly if the reviews, which are meant to keep regular tabs on an IT project's feasibility, showed a project was risky, ill-planned, or expensive.

What the Computer Weekly story has revealed is a culture of fear in which it is not enough merely to prohibit the publication of a report, but that its distribution must be tightly monitored in case any information leaks out.

Civil servants told Weekly they were concerned about the shredding order. The reports contained recommendations they had to follow in order to make sure an IT project was successful.

The whole idea was "odd and a little sinister", said one, while Weekly relayed concern that "a department or agency's internal audit committee, MPs, the department's IT team, computer suppliers, and potential end-users may be denied access to the final report".

The official reason why the OGC is going to such lengths to keep Gateway reviews secret is that their publication would discourage people working on IT projects from speaking honestly about them - if they reported their dissent it might be blown out of proportion by the media, the argument goes.

This was the argument the OGC has used in its ongoing appeal against a legal challenge to have its Gateway reviews of the controversial NIS published.

When the Information Tribunal threw out the OGC's last appeal last month, it reported that the OGC didn't really have any faith in its own arguments.

Weekly suggested the shredding order might heighten suspicion that a select few have always known that the ID and NPfIT projects were "fundamentally" flawed. If those suspicions were true, then the publication of the gateways might indeed attract some media interest. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International
Refusal to disclose GCHQ canteen menus and prices triggers Euro Human Rights Court action
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Heavy VPN users are probably pirates, says BBC
And ISPs should nab 'em on our behalf
Former Bitcoin Foundation chair pleads guilty to money-laundering charge
Charlie Shrem plea deal could still get him five YEARS in chokey
NORKS ban Wi-Fi and satellite internet at embassies
Crackdown on tardy diplomatic sysadmins providing accidental unfiltered internet access
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.