Feeds

Spooks scramble to replace failed secret messaging system

CLiC to pick up the pieces

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

MI6 and GCHQ have begun work to replace an aborted secret communications system that wasted tens of millions of pounds.

The failed project, SCOPE Phase II, was run out of the Cabinet Office with IBM as the main contractor. The intelligence agencies have taken direct control of its replacement, CLiC (Collaboration in the Intelligence Community).

CLiC is described as a "a low-risk, inexpensive approach, providing incremental changes to existing systems". SCOPE Phase II aimed to extend a new secret messaging system to thousands of terminals across the intelligence agencies, as well as the Home Office, SOCA, MoD and other departments.

The disclosure is made in the annual report of the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC), the cross-party group of MPs that provides the main outside scrutiny of MI5, MI6 and GCHQ.

"We are doing really quite well on this more modest CLiC programme, which is not being run out of the Cabinet Office, it is being run out of SIS and GCHQ," John Scarlett, director general of MI6 for the period covered by the report, told the ISC.

The new programme will aim at first to connect HMRC to the SCOPE Phase I desktop, develop "STRAP3A messaging" - a secure email system - for seven departments by the end of the financial year, and pilot a shared work space for organised crime allowing SOCA, MI6 and GCHQ to collaborate.

"It is regrettable that this same practical and incremental approach was not adopted in the planning of the SCOPE programme," the ISC said, in criticism that will be heard loudest at the Cabinet Office, which has overall responsibility for government IT strategy.

The ISC report also reveals that Cabinet Office officials are still trying to recover the £24.4m paid to IBM for SCOPE Phase II, almost two years after they abandoned the project.

"We had hoped to include in this Report a detailed account of the Cabinet Office's decision to abandon Phase 2 of the SCOPE programme," the MPs said.

"However, the Committee is still investigating the circumstances surrounding the decision, and commercial and legal negotiations between the Cabinet Office and contractor [IBM] continue." ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Scrapping the Human Rights Act: What about privacy and freedom of expression?
Justice minister's attack to destroy ability to challenge state
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
Hey Brit taxpayers. You just spent £4m on Central London ‘innovation playground’
Catapult me a Mojito, I feel an Digital Innovation coming on
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
EU to accuse Ireland of giving Apple an overly peachy tax deal – report
Probe expected to say single-digit rate was unlawful
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
EU probes Google’s Android omerta again: Talk now, or else
Spill those Android secrets, or we’ll fine you
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.