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FCO to cut one-third from IT and telecoms spending

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) plans to cut its IT and telecommunications running costs by 30 per cent to 40 per cent – all the while reducing their environmental impact and providing "better services" to staff, according to a new strategy. It is aiming to modernise the infrastructure, improve training and awareness …

FCO splashes millions on Johnny Foreigner's energy 'awareness'

John Stuart Mill described the British Empire as "outdoor relief for the middle classes". The phrase "indoor relief", at the time, referred to the state-sponsored workhouse programme, which invented jobs for the poor to prevent them being idle. Mill was implying that the Empire was a gigantic job creation scheme. But in the 21st …
Andrew Orlowski, 05 Apr 2012
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FCO spends £39m with HP

HP took nine per cent of the money spent by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office with its 100 biggest suppliers in 2009-10. Figures released to Kable under Freedom of Information by the department show that the technology firm topped its supplier list, with Global Crossing coming third with £20m of spending in 2009-10. The …
Kable, 29 Nov 2010
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FCO warns over bogus credit crunch relief phishing email

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has warned Brits and others to ignore a phishing scam currently circulating around the internet. Scam emails attempt to trick users into submitting personal data, in exchange for a chance to benefit from a fictitious "Recession Relief Programme Fund". The bogus emails purport to come …
John Leyden, 08 Apr 2009
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FCO rep: Best argument for net freedom is cold hard cash

When a country restricts its population's freedoms on the internet, and you want to do something about it, point out to the heads of state how much money their nation is potentially losing as a result of the web clampdown - that's the advice from a top UK Foreign Office bod. John Duncan, who is the Foreign Secretary’s Special …
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Tiny Brit island stranded after £10m undersea fibre plea sunk

Days after walking away from the ITU treaty on global communications, which asked nations to connect up their islands, the UK confirmed it will not readily stump up the cash to do just that. The island in question is St Helena, a British territory smack bang in the middle of the South Atlantic Ocean. Its inhabitants need £10m to …
Bill Ray, 03 Jan 2013

Oracle partners drool over juicy £750m ERP framework

Oracle channel partners are gearing up for a mega software and shared services framework worth up to £750m over three years via the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. A Prior Information Notice was released last week and covers the upgrade of ERP platforms including business intelligence and enterprise data warehousing, as well as …
Paul Kunert, 29 Jan 2013
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FCO owns up to energy waste

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has been leaving about 10,000 computers switched on overnight. In response to a parliamentary question from shadow environment secretary Peter Ainsworth, minister Meg Munn said that on the assumption that each computer uses 80 watts of power and is left on for 14 idle hours each day, the …
Kablenet, 29 Sep 2008
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FCO to probe visa security lapse

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has closed its online service for visa applicants from India while it investigates a security breach that made the personal details of visa applicants available online. VFS Global, the private firm that runs the FCO's online visa application service, told the reporter who broke the …
Mark Ballard, 18 May 2007
For Sale sign detail

MS nabs £6m FCO deal

Microsoft has secured Windows at The Foreign & Commonwealth Office for another three years, signing a £6m contract to update and support the department's Windows-based apps. Microsoft says the deal is a great demonstration of "how we are deepening our engagement with UK government departments and improving partnerships". And …
Team Register, 30 Jun 2005
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FCO takes on Murray and the blogs over Murder in Samarkand

The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office is following up on its earlier moves against former ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray with the threat of an injunction. Alongside the publication of his book, Murder in Samarkand, last week Murray posted a collection of supporting documents on his web site (here); the current FCO action …
John Lettice, 10 Jul 2006
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Fingerprint the expats! FCO plans phase two biometric passport

Plans to add fingerprints to UK overseas passports are under way, despite the cost and complexity involved in gathering biometrics from UK citizens across the globe, a parliamentary answer revealed last week. Passports issued by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office are already "biometric", but only in the somewhat minimalist sense …
John Lettice, 31 Oct 2006
g_cloud_uk_gov

Suppliers race to bag first G-Cloud accredited platform

The race is on in the channel to pocket the first G-Cloud pan-government accreditation for infrastructure- and software-as-a-service platforms. The awards will be made this month but industry sources tell The Channel that Memset, Skyscape, SCC and FCO Services (the IT arm of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office) are in the running …
Paul Kunert, 06 Jul 2012
Hanslope Park

Hanslope Park: Home of Britain’s ‘real-life Q division’

Hanslope Park sits just outside the small, quiet North Buckinghamshire village of Hanslope. I grew up there, and the Park and its occupants would always be mentioned by conversing grown-ups in suddenly hushed tones. Who might be listening? Other villagers were quietly pointed out with the words: “You see him? He works at the …
Tony Smith, 05 Jul 2013
Diablo III Blizzard Entertainment

Blizzard faces court battle for 'misleading Diablo III fans'

Blizzard faces a court showdown unless it agrees to change its Diablo III packaging to better reflect the role-playing game's online requirements. Fans of Diablo III were already peeved that a constant network connection is mandatory to run the title, but while the most of the world sits and moans, the first legal salvo has been …
Caleb Cox, 24 Jul 2012
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Hague promises Foreign Office cyber confab in London

Foreign Secretary Wee Willie Hague is hosting a cybersecurity conference later this year. The two-day event will be held on 1 and 2 November and more than 80 organisations have been invited to attend. Hague said international cooperation was vital to ensure that cyberspace "remains a safe and trusted environment in which to …
John Oates, 26 Jul 2011
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Former Gov.UK sweetheart Logica evaporates after CGI swills it down

CGI's completion of its acquisition of Logica will see the departure of the company from the Stock Exchange at the end of this week and effectively the end of the Logica brand. CGI recently announced that it has completed the £1.7bn acquisition after Logica shareholders voted 99.54% in favour of CGI's offer at a shareholders …
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Foreign Office endorses 'free' Microsoft travel advice API

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has endorsed an application programming interface created by Microsoft, after the software giant took the government department's RSS feeds and cobbled together an API. While a Commons committee is busily scrutinising the government's IT procurement record, the Foreign Office has been …
Kelly Fiveash, 16 Mar 2011
fingers pointing at man

OSI fears for Linux if Novell patents land with Apple, Oracle

In buying up a stash of Novell patents, Apple and Oracle could choke rivals in the virtualization, middleware, mobile, and media markets, according to the Open Source Initiative. German regulators are looking into the proposed sale of 882 Novell patents to CPTN Holdings, Microsoft-led group that also includes Apple, Oracle, and …
Gavin Clarke, 08 Apr 2011
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Toy Story: Mystic Met needs swanky new kit, swoon MPs

The Mystic Met has bewitched MPs who have recommended the forecasters are given the swanky new supercomputer they want. Despite the meteorologists getting 10 of their last 11 winter forecasts wrong, MPs say the Met needs to improve its communication and PR, rather than its scientific methodology. Amazingly, MPs even blame the …
Andrew Orlowski, 22 Feb 2012
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eBay Germany faces PayPal probe

eBay Germany is being investigated by competition authorities concerned that its tying of PayPal to certain eBay purchases is in breach of consumer law. eBay.de recently asked sellers with low feedback points to offer PayPal. The company justified the move because it said the number of bad buying experiences is twice as high …
John Oates, 26 Feb 2010
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Mystic Met is serial Strategy Boutique john

Free Whitepaper - Synergies for Stakeholder Engagement The Met Office's addiction to rebranding has been revealed: it has changed its slogan five times in three years. You'd be hard pressed to find much evidence of this on its website, though. But the Mystic Met wasn't the most dependent Boutique-botherer. Wiltshire Police …
Andrew Orlowski, 02 Jun 2010
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MoJ opens wallet, offers £300m for desktop services

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) is planning to spend up to £300m on end user computing and desktop services as part of a future IT sourcing plan. The tender is for the delivery of effective "infrastructure and devices" across the MoJ's estate, including the supply, management and maintenance of the end computer environment, such …
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Foreign and Commonwealth Office plans biometrics bonanza

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office plans to buy biometric systems for security use in British embassies. FCO Services, the department's internal system integrator, plans to spend around £15m over three years on a new framework agreement for biometric software, algorithms and hardware, according to a notice published on 31 March …
Kablenet, 02 Apr 2009
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'Tis the season... for another gov IP review

Tradition is very important at the New Coalition Academy. Last week the Government announced a review of intellectual property "to make it fit for the digital age" - five years after the last review to make intellectual property fit for the digital age. The previous government commissioned former Financial Times journalist …
Andrew Orlowski, 10 Nov 2010
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Faux Foreign Secretary dupes UK press with Jackson Tweet

British MP and Foreign Secretary David Miliband did not Tweet about the death of Michael Jackson yesterday. But this fact was lost on The Telegraph, The Guardian, The Times, The Daily Mirror, The Evening Standard, and the AFP news service. In their rush to turn Web2.0rhea into news, each was duped into believing that Miliband …
Cade Metz, 26 Jun 2009

Foreign Office on target for £120m efficiency savings

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has insisted that it is on course to deliver on its £120m efficiency savings target by the end of 2007-08. The declaration comes in spite of delays to its Future Firecrest desktop IT project, which will not be rolled out until early next year. In a review of its annual report for 2006-07 …
Kablenet, 20 Nov 2007
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Take your hands off me - I'm a tech VC superstar!

Effendi, entrepreneurs! The Bongster is back from Texas! Every year, the brightest talent in Shoreditch's vibrant tech scene swaps the workspaces and mentor-ins of N1 and E2 for the sweet smelling grass of Austin, Texas, for SXSWi. And so did I. As the founder of ¡Bong! Ventures, I am the enabler behind some of the best-known …
Steve Bong, 16 Mar 2012
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Foreign Office reports five data losses to Info Commissioner

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has reported five significant data breaches to the Information Commissioner's Office in the last financial year, in total affecting less than 188 people. The losses have been disclosed within the department's resource accounts (pdf) for the year ending 31 March 2008. They show that in …
Kablenet, 01 Aug 2008
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The commercial cuckoo hiding in the BBC's global mission

Check the calendar dates and a possible cunning plan emerges. On Thursday 6th May, there was a strong possibility that the UK would elect a Tory government, one that would be eyeing BBC funding suspiciously. On Tuesday 11th of May, BBC director general Mark Thompson gave a speech at Chatham House on "Nation Speaking Peace unto …
John Lettice, 19 May 2010
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UK.gov goes back to school to avoid future IT blunders

Whitehall's waste of £470m on a botched attempt to modernise fire service control rooms in England begs questions about what UK plc is doing to prevent a similar haemorrhage of money in the future. A scathing report on FiReControl by parliament's public accounts committee said the project was flawed from the outset and blamed …
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Defence talks to forge EU cyberwar strategy

European defence ministers met last week to develop NATO's future cyber defence strategy, defence minister Nick Harvey told Parliament on Monday. Defence Secretary Liam Fox met his counterparts across Europe to help formulate future cyber defence policy, Harvey said in response to questions in the House from former defence …
John Leyden, 15 Mar 2011

German anti-trust officials received complaint against Intel

Intel may end up under investigation by German anti-cartel officials after all. The Federal Cartel Office (FCO) last week received a formal complaint regarding the chip giant's alleged business practices. However, no probe has yet begun, it seems. What a difference a week makes. Just over seven days ago, the FCO denied a …
Tony Smith, 12 Jul 2006

AMD to complain about Intel in Germany

AMD will formally complain to German anti-trust authorities about alleged attempts made by Intel to stop certain retailers selling PCs based on AMD processors, the chip maker said yesterday. Earlier this week, it emerged an unknown company has already filed a formal complaint about Intel with Germany's Federal Cartel Office ( …
Tony Smith, 14 Jul 2006
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Interpol issues arrest warrant for fake passport hit team

International police agency Interpol has out put stop and detain notices for 11 suspects reckoned to have used fake passports to enter the UAE before taking part in the murder of Hamas commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai last month. The development came as UK officials said that a preliminary investigation showed that six …
John Leyden, 19 Feb 2010
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The ambassador's IT angst

The Foreign Office's efforts to replace 30 different IT systems with a new information management service, known as Prism, is "substantially behind time" and causing "great dissastisfaction" in embassies and consulates around the world, according to a parliamentary report issued on 8 March 2006. MPs on Parliament's Foreign …
Kablenet, 09 Mar 2006
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Browncasting: Why can't Downing Street do digital?

Gordon Brown’s recent YouTube appearances may be embarrassing for what they say about his body language – but do they also expose a deeper inability on the part of this Government to come to terms with new media? Since March 2006, the Prime Minister has been working hard to rebut David Cameron's accusation that he was "an analog …
Jane Fae Ozimek, 06 May 2009
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HP goes to bat for the Foreign Office

HP has emerged victor of the prize to run the Foreign and Commonwealth Offices's IT systems. The seven-year deal is worth £180m and is the biggest ever signed by the FCO. It will see HP streamline the department's IT into a single online network, and over the next two years, FCO's offices in the UK and abroad - there are more …
Drew Cullen, 17 Feb 2005

German officials deny probe into Intel, Metro collusion claim

Germany's Federal Cartel Office (FCO) has rejected claims that it is investigating allegations Intel and local retail giant Metro agreed that the retailer's Media Markt and Saturn chains would not sell PCs based on AMD processors. The denial follows a report in the German edition of the Financial Times at the weekend claiming …
Tony Smith, 04 Jul 2006
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UK to outsource biometric visa checks to Mumbai

The UK is to outsource visa application checks "wherever there is an outsource partner", following trials in its largest visa posts in Mumbai, Delhi and Islamabad. This process, which will be implemented alongside the introduction of biometrics for all visa applications, is intended to cover at least 60 per cent of an annual …
John Lettice, 27 Jun 2005
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15 new suspects named in Hamas Dubai assassination

Dubai police have named 15 more suspects - all reckoned to have entered the UAE using counterfeit Western passports - wanted over the murder of Hamas commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in the Gulf state last month. The new suspects - alleged to have laid the groundwork for the main 11 person hit squad by providing logistical support …
John Leyden, 25 Feb 2010
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UK overseas passports go biometric from 2006

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) has announced a £5m deal with 3M to kit out its embassies and consulates overseas with the technology needed to issue "biometric" passports. However, the scope of the deal largely confirms that the biometric element is less high tech than we might have imagined. There will be no …
Lucy Sherriff, 26 Jul 2005
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MPs must act on runaway ID project

The London School of Economics has called for Parliament to intervene in the government's identity card scheme to find out if it is "getting out of control". In its response to the government's six-monthly report on costs of the ID scheme, which said last week that estimates had risen by nearly £1bn since October 2006, the LSE …
Mark Ballard, 16 May 2007
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IPS finds no nuggets in ID checking goldmine

Government plans to position the Identity & Passport Service as the UK's de facto identity services broker seem not to have entirely caught the imagination of the private sector, figures in IPS' annual report and accounts suggest. Although IPS recruited 44 new customers for its Passport Validation Service (PVS), income from this …
John Lettice, 04 Jul 2008
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Ex-envoy unleashes blog-based attack on UK's torture denials

Former ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray has harnessed the Internet in his long-running feud with the UK Government. A forthcoming book covering his time as ambassador is currently being blocked by the Foreign Office, which has demanded he remove references to two documents from the book and his web site. Murray has …
John Lettice, 30 Dec 2005
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Top secret UK data network goes live two years late

A system to link a secure communications network used by UK intelligence agencies with other government departments and posts overseas has finally swung into operation, two years later than originally expected. The slow progress of the SCOPE project drew a rebuke in the annual Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee …
John Leyden, 31 Jan 2008
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Investigator ridicules UK visa site

Security on websites used to apply for UK visas is utter crap, an independent investigator looking into the matter has concluded - in so many words. They should remain shuttered until a list of improvements are completed by the governmental agency responsible for processing applications and the India-based private contractor …
Dan Goodin, 11 Aug 2007
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UK Gov seeks 'scientific' basis for nationality

Attempts to define race through science haven't had an entirely positive press subsequent to the collapse of the Third Reich, but the Weird Science Department of the UK Government could well be skittering on that very patch of thin ice. Lord Triesman, the Prime minister's Special Envoy for Returns, this week said that work on …
John Lettice, 22 Jun 2007
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419ers break into the oil business

It appears that decent 419 scam emails are like buses - you wait ages for one and then eight turn up at once. Only yesterday we were lamenting the recent lack of imaginative material from the Lads from Lagos, but not only are they now offering themselves into sexual servitude, they're also breaking into the oil business. Good …
Lester Haines, 13 Aug 2004
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Amazon and Yahoo in disaster relief fund appeal

Leading Net names including Amazon and Yahoo are helping to raise cash for the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. The charity's Web site, redcross.org, has been overwhelmed by people seeking to donate cash in the wake of the terrorist attacks in the US. So much so, its urging people to use different methods of payment to …
Tim Richardson, 13 Sep 2001