Thursday, 3 April 2014

Estonia – are we nearly there?

This morning's Computer Weekly headline speaks for itself: "Parliamentary computers crash 90 minutes after IT assurances".

There was a "major incident" nine days ago on 25 March 2014 when parliamentarians and their staff had trouble with email and internet access. Joan Miller, Director of Parliamentary IT, emailed her users at 12:28 to say that the problem had been fixed. 89 minutes later at 13:57 it happened all over again, major incident #2.

That's a resilience problem. Like the Government Digital Service's CloudStore being unavailable for several days. Twice. In October and November 2013.

Then there's the security problem. Even when Parliament's IT is up and running smoothly, you will remember, Ms Miller suffers from the Government Digital Service's problem – security isn't important, usability is what matters, please see The Tragedy of the Commons.

Parliament seems to be in danger of enjoying neither resilience nor security.

"Would that work here?", BBC Radio 4 asked last night. In Estonia they seem to have iDemocracy, as recommended by Douglas Carswell. How far along the road to Estonia is the UK? Without resilience, security and identity assurance, not very.

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