Feeds

MoD sticks with 'most decrepit browser in the world'

Labour MP suggests use of IE6 is 'workplace cruelty'

High performance access to file storage

Members of the armed forces will carry on using Microsoft's outdated Internet Explorer 6 browser, contravening the government's own advice on internet security.

According to parliamentary written answers received by Labour MP Tom Watson, the majority of departments still require staff to use IE6. Most have plans to upgrade to the more secure IE7, and some to IE8, but the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has no plans to change.

The MoD is implementing a secure desktop computing service for 300,000 users worldwide through its Defence Information Infrastructure (DII) programme, but defence minister Quentin Davies said: "DII currently uses Internet Explorer 6 and at the current time does not have a requirement to move to an updated version."

Watson expressed his dismay at the response.

"Many civil servants use web browsers as a tool of their trade," he told GC News. "They're as important as pens and paper. So to force them to use the most decrepit browser in the world is a rare form of workplace cruelty that should be stopped.

"When you consider that the government supported Get Safe Online initiative advises that companies should upgrade from IE6, you would imagine that permanent secretaries would like to practice what they preach," he added. "Why civil servants should not be given the choice to use Firefox or Chrome or Safari is beyond me. UK web workers deserve better."

Some departments have already begun transferring from IE6, according to replies to Watson - although all that mentioned an alternative browser plan to stick with Microsoft. International Development already uses IE7 and is evaluating IE8, and Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has also moved to IE7.

Home Office minister Phil Woolas told Watson that his department, the UK Border Agency and the Criminal Records Bureau are planning to upgrade from IE6 in February 2010. The Identity and Passport Service is due to move to IE7 in mid-2010.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office minister Chris Bryant said that 57% of its networked computers had moved to IE7 by the end of June 2009, and the department expects to update the rest by end of May 2010. Department for Work and Pensions minister Jim Knight said his department plans to upgrade from IE6 to a more recent version by the end of this year.

Transport minister Chris Mole said his department moved to IE7 last year, while most of its agencies are either moving or working on moves away from IE6 - although the Highways Agency and Vehicle and Operator Services Agency have no plans to do so.

Justice minister Michael Wills said his department and its agencies were either moving already or planning moves. Culture, Media and Sport plans to complete its move to IE7 by the end of August, while Children, Schools and Families expects to transfer from IE6 during 2010-11.

Other departments including health, business and energy said they planned to end use of IE6 but had not decided when and how. But Communities and Local Government minister Shahid Malik said his department has no plans to end its use, and would do so only when "the benefits for doing so outweigh any disbenefit or cost".

This article was originally published at Kable.

Kable's GC weekly is a free email newsletter covering the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. To register click here.

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Big Content goes after Kim Dotcom
Six studios sling sueballs at dead download destination
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
Jack the RIPA: Blighty cops ignore law, retain innocents' comms data
Prime minister: Nothing to see here, go about your business
Singapore decides 'three strikes' laws are too intrusive
When even a prurient island nation thinks an idea is dodgy it has problems
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Banks slap Olympus with £160 MEEELLION lawsuit
Scandal hit camera maker just can't shake off its past
France bans managers from contacting workers outside business hours
«Email? Mais non ... il est plus tard que six heures du soir!»
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.