• Great articles on other sites
  • RSS Great articles on other sites

  • Enterprise IT, News - Written by on Thursday, February 2, 2012 15:07 - 16 Comments

    Govt still hasn’t certified Apple iOS devices

    news Apple’s iPhone 3G was first released in Australia three and a half years ago, and its flagship iPad tablet 18 months ago. But the Federal Government still hasn’t certified the devices for use in government agencies, despite having pledged to do so by September last year, and despite approving Research in Motion’s unpopular rival, the BlackBerry PlayBook.

    The organisation responsible for certifying technology software and hardware for use by government agencies in Australia is the Defence Signals Directorate, which sits within the Department of Defence. Historically the organisation has focused on certifying mobile operating systems from BlackBerry maker Research in Motion and Microsoft.

    In July last year, DSD revealed — and the Australian Government Information Management Office confirmed — that DSD was evaluating Apple’s iOS platform, with certification slated to be complete by September last year. At the time, DSD published an interim guide to hardening the security on iOS devices, including the iPod Touch, the iPhone and the iPad.

    This week Delimiter queried the Department of Defence on the matter, asking what the current status was of DSD’s project to certify iOS devices, when it anticipated the products would be added to DSD’s Evaluated Products List, and what had caused the delay.

    However, DSD did not respond directly to the majority of the questions.

    “DSD, as the Commonwealth authority on information security, will continue to produce advice and assistance for technology based on the business requirements of Australian Government users,” the organisation said in a statement. “To do this, DSD works closely with industry partners to enable effective information security options for Australian Government agencies.”

    “DSD’s work in evaluating the latest version of the iOS is moving towards the final stage. DSD evaluations take time to complete to ensure the integrity of the product meets the specific security requirements of the Australian government.”

    The delay comes despite the fact that Research in Motion’s BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, which was released in Australia in mid-2011, a year after Apple’s first iPad, was in 2011 approved by DSD for Government use. The tablet has failed to take significant market share globally, and is believed to have achieved only a very small share of the tablet market in Australia, with the iPad estimated to have taken somewhere north of 80 percent of Australia’s tablet market.

    A number of BlackBerry and Windows Mobile devices were already approved by DSD for government use, throughout 2007 to 2011.

    The delay also comes despite the fact that a number of senior government officers, ranging from politicians to public servants, use the iPhone and iPad devices extensively for their daily work. In October, the Department of Parliamentary Services revealed in October last year that it would allow its growing fleet of 40 iPad users to access full desktop and internal IT services under its ongoing pilot of the tablets.

    High-profile politicians such as Communications Minister Stephen Conroy and his shadow, Malcolm Turnbull, regularly use Apple iOS devices for their daily work.

    In addition, Defence this week declined to respond to a question on whether it had seen any further interest from government stakeholders in certifying the Android operating system, which is believed to have even stronger market share in Australia than Apple’s devices, but has not yet been adopted strongly for corporate use. “The Android platform has not yet been submitted for DSD evaluation,” a Defence spokesperson said in response to a question on the issue in July. “At this time, the use of the Android platform for Australian government business does not necessitate the production of a hardening guide.”

    opinion/analysis
    The DSD’s certification program has clearly descended into a farcical situation. The organisation has no problem certifying BlackBerry devices which fewer and fewer people are using, but has not yet certified the Apple iPhone for use within Government, three and a half years after it was released in Australia or the Apple iPad, 18 months after it was released locally.

    I have no idea what is going on inside DSD, but it’s time the organisation started responding more speedily to the needs of its public service users, who are audibly demanding that they be allowed to use these devices in their everyday life. This is a perfect example of government inaction in action.

    Image credit: Apple

    submit to reddit

    16 Comments

    You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

    1. DTM
      Posted 02/02/2012 at 3:47 pm | Permalink |

      They haven’t had time, they’re too busy playing Angry Birds and arguing with Siri.

    2. Bryn
      Posted 02/02/2012 at 4:20 pm | Permalink |

      When the certification cycle is longer then the release cycle for all major mobile vendors, you need to start wondering if you’re doing it wrong :).

    3. Posted 02/02/2012 at 4:23 pm | Permalink |

      As someone who, in a past life, has had to deal with DSD on matters of network hardening, IT security and device certification I can state unequivocally that it’s largely NOT interested in making the APS’ life easier.

      We used to refer to them as “The Department of No”.

      The certification timeline is, for all intents and purposes, designed to discourage change and innovation.

    4. sam
      Posted 02/02/2012 at 6:33 pm | Permalink |

      Tell you right now why it would be taking so so long… apple loves to store all your personal information, your location, what you like to do, what you type fir their “marketing” thus in ut self is a massive security breach that if you read the terms and conditions you agree too, so if you think about a government agency having all that data stored quite possibly in another country that in itself is a massive security threat, and apple being so arrogant wouldn’t change it fir them… Guarenteed

      • Posted 02/02/2012 at 6:41 pm | Permalink |

        I agree but I think you’ll find that most Smartphones will have the same issues

      • Posted 03/02/2012 at 8:16 pm | Permalink |

        There are obvious ways to stop Apple storing your info if you’re using an iOS device. I have turned off almost all of the things on my iPhone and iPad which rang alarm bells with me. I’m sure a security professional could do a lot more.

    5. pR
      Posted 02/02/2012 at 7:15 pm | Permalink |

      Have you thought the delay might be due to that fact that when you compare security of an iOS (or Android device for that matter) with a BlackBerry there essentially is no comparison.

      http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/249140/blackberry_os_achieves_coveted_government_security_clearance.html

      When it comes to security, popularity means nothing. So saying you don’t know why a less popular product (for consumers) takes longer to security certify than a tablet / smartphone designed with security from the start, just shows you don’t understand the underlying technology.

      I don’t argue that iOS and Android are great for the consumer, but believe they really don’t have a place in most businesses yet, and certainly not in govt or finance

      • Posted 02/02/2012 at 7:37 pm | Permalink |

        “I don’t argue that iOS and Android are great for the consumer, but believe they really don’t have a place in most businesses yet, and certainly not in govt or finance”

        I liked the rest of your comment, but this sentence is pure bullshit. Adoption rates of iOS and Android by businesspeople in particular has been huge.

      • EMC2
        Posted 03/02/2012 at 10:52 am | Permalink |

        this x1000

    6. Tom Walker
      Posted 03/02/2012 at 11:29 am | Permalink |

      the as someone already mentioned what does popularity of a device with consumers have to do with suitability for secure government or corporate work. Certain products are simply not suitable for some uses.

      Greetings from Canada

      • Posted 03/02/2012 at 8:24 pm | Permalink |

        See my post above about supporting iOS in businesses.

        And wake up. IT does not direct business interest. It is the other way around.

    7. Jacko
      Posted 06/02/2012 at 3:45 pm | Permalink |

      I realise that people who don’t know better love to attack soft media targets like the DSD but have you considered the possibility that a “consumer” product which was never designed to provide the user with any particular assurance about it’s ability to handle anything but unclassified information may struggle to get through the rigourous assessment process? Also given the teeny-weeny market that business & government represent to Apple for IOS do you think it could be a very time consuming process getting them to address any issues if they did find any? RIM marketed and designed their products for business / government use, Apple designed and market their IOS products for the mass market.
      Sorry, not as much fun as picking on the government is it but probably the reason the pollies still can’t play Angry Birds in cabinet but they probably do anyway.
      (don’t forget to keep your tin-foil hat handy)

    8. Apelles
      Posted 07/02/2012 at 12:59 am | Permalink |

      I can’t say I blame the DSD. I spite of iOS being a tremendously popular consumer product, it has serious security flaws that would make any business or government agency concerned with privacy and sensitive data avoid iOS at all costs. As for the other Australian Government Officials using iOS they are probably dealing with non sensitive data, although we know what a disaster this can be vis a vis the Murdoch phone hacking scandals that seem to multiply by the minute. Google Murdoch’s Database 3 -fun read that also reveals aspects as to the concerns of this article. Simply disabling an iOS device would do little, to meet security standards,major elements of iOS would need to be disabled as well.RIM still remains the OS of choice for many buisineses and governments who value privacy. As for the U.S Armed forces choosing Android , they have the resouces and capabilities to create their own version of Android exclusively for themselves, a private OS, I highly doubt Apple would let them create a private version of iOS.




    Get our 'Best of the Week' newsletter on Fridays

    Just the most important stories, one email a week.

    Email address:


  • Enterprise IT stories

    • Super funds close to dumping $250m IT revamp facepalm2

      If you have even a skin deep awareness of the structure of Australia’s superannuation industry, you’ll be aware that much of the underlying infrastructure used by many of the nation’s major funds is provided by a centralised group, Superpartners. One of the group’s main projects in recent years has been to dramatically update and modernise its IT platform — its version of a core banking platform overhaul. Unfortunately, the $250 million project has not precisely been going well.

    • Qld’s Grant joins analyst firm IBRS peter-grant

      This week it emerged that Peter Grant, the two-time former Queensland Whole of Government CIO (pictured), has joined well-regarded analyst firm Intelligent Business Research Services (IBRS). We’ve long had a high regard for IBRS, and so it’s fantastic to see such an experienced executive join its ranks.

    • Westpac dumps desk phones for Samsung Android mobiles samsung-galaxy-ace-3

      The era of troublesome desk phones tied to physical locations is gradually coming to an end in many workplaces, with mobile phones becoming increasingly popular as organisations’ main method of voice telecommunications. But some groups are more advanced than others when it comes to adoption of the trend. One of those is Westpac.

    • Ministers’ cloud approval lasted just a year reverse

      Remember how twelve months ago, the Federal Government released a new cloud computing security and privacy directive which required departments and agencies to explicitly acquire the approval of the Attorney-General and the relevant portfolio minister before government data containing private information could be stored in offshore facilities? Remember how the policy was strongly criticised by Microsoft, Government CIOs and Delimiter? Well, it looks like the policy is about to be reversed.

    • WA Govt can’t fund school IT upgrades oops key

      In news from The Department of Disturbing Facts, iTNews revealed late last week that Western Australia’s Department of Education has run out of money halfway through the deployment of new fundamental IT infrastructure to the state’s schools.

    • Turnbull outlines Govt ICT vision turnbull-5

      Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has published an extensive article arguing that the Federal Government needed to do a better job of connecting with Australians via digital channels and that public sector IT projects needn’t cost the huge amounts that some have in the past.

    • NZ Govt pushes hard into cloud zealand

      New Zealand’s national Government announced a whole of government contract this morning for what it terms ‘Office Productivity as a Service’ services. This includes email and calendaring services, as well as file-sharing, mobility, instant messaging and collaboration services. The contract complements two existing contracts — Desktop as a Service and Enterprise Content Management as a Service.

    • CommBank reveals Harte’s replacement whiteing

      The Commonwealth Bank of Australia has promoted an internal executive who joined the bank in September after a lengthy career at petroleum giant VP and IT services group Accenture to replace its outgoing chief information officer Michael Harte, who announced in early May that he would leave the bank.

    • Jeff Smith quits Suncorp for IBM jeffsmith4

      Second-tier Australian bank and financial services group Suncorp today announced that its long-serving top technology executive Jeff Smith would leave to take up a senior role with IBM in the United States, in an announcement which marks the end of an era for the nation’s banking IT sector.

    • Small business missing the mobile, social, cloud revolution iphone-stock

      Most companies that live and breathe the online revolution are not tech startups, but smart smaller firms that use online tools to run their core business better: to cut costs, reach customers and suppliers, innovate and get more control. Many others, however, are falling behind, according to a new Grattan Institute discussion paper.

  • Blog, Enterprise IT - Jul 5, 2014 13:53 - 0 Comments

    Super funds close to dumping $250m IT revamp

    More In Enterprise IT


    Blog, Telecommunications - Jul 5, 2014 12:12 - 0 Comments

    What should the ACCC’s role be in guiding infrastructure spending?

    More In Telecommunications


    Analysis, Industry, Internet - Jun 23, 2014 10:33 - 0 Comments

    ‘Google Schmoogle’ – how Yellow Pages got it so wrong

    More In Industry


    Blog, Digital Rights - Jun 30, 2014 22:24 - 0 Comments

    Will Netflix launch in Australia, or not?

    More In Digital Rights