Great articles on other sites
- iiNet founder Michael Malone finally backs TPG Telecom takeover
- How and why the public sector must make friends with artificial intelligence
- Second anniversary of IT pricing report approaches - Computerworld
- Doctors spend 15 mins opening Fiona Stanley Hospital software
- What to expect from Abbott's national cyber security strategy
- ISPs need more time for data retention compliance
- TPG iiNet bid: major shareholders complain
- Qld emergency services payroll replacement on the rocks
- Victoria to wait another eight months for public IT dashboard
- Superloop CEO slams Australian govt tech policies
Renai's other site: Sci-fi + fantasy book news and reviews
- Kim Stanley Robinson’s new book Aurora is due in July
- What’s the future of “Grimdark” fantasy?
- An epic rant from Richard Morgan about nuance in writing
- Brandon Sanderson’s Firefight: Review
- Get into Jeff VanderMeer’s head as he writes the Southern Reach trilogy
- George R. R. Martin’s next book The Winds of Winter won’t arrive in 2015
- Alastair Reynolds’ Poseidon’s Wake launches 16 April
- Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Sword: Review
- Ann Leckie finishes Ancillary Mercy
- Hannu Rajaniemi’s The Fractal Prince: Review
Enterprise IT, News - Written by Renai LeMay on Tuesday, July 30, 2013 15:42 - 7 Comments
“A real barrier”: Sports Commission CIO
speaks up on new Govt cloud policy
news A chief information officer from a minor agency has publicly criticised the Federal Government’s new risk management guidelines on storing offshore data, stating that they constitute “a real barrier” to the adoption of public cloud technologies in the public sector.
Earlier this month, the Federal Government released a new cloud computing security and privacy directive (PDF) which requires departments and agencies to explicitly acquire the approval of the Attorney-General and their relevant portfolio minister before government data containing private information can be stored in offshore facilities. Data which doesn’t include personal information — and thus isn’t subject to privacy regulations — won’t suffer the same conditions.
Unlike existing cloud computing policies used in the Federal Government, the policy did not emanate from either the office of the whole of government chief information or technology officers, key parts of the Australian Government Information Management Office which helps set central government IT strategy and policy.
Instead, the new policy appears to be a document created by the Attorney-General’s Department, as part of the Protective Security Framework which it administers to help ensure the physical and information security of the Federal Government as a whole. At the time the document was released, Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus, issued the following statement:
“The policy will aid decision-makers in determining when to allow the use of offshoring or outsourcing on a case-by-case basis. I have paid special attention to the security of personal information, which people expect will be treated with the highest care by all organisations, but by government in particular.”
“Safeguards have been incorporated so that before personal information can be stored in the cloud, the approval of the Minister responsible for the information, and my own approval as Minister for privacy, must be given. This is to ensure that sufficient measures have been taken to mitigate potential risks to the security of that information.”
However, the new policy raised eyebrows inside Federal Government IT circles. And last week some of that criticism made it into the public domain courtesy of Steven Stolk, the chief information officer at the Australian Sports Commission, in comments first reported by iTNews.
“The new policy from AG to have any public cloud with personal info approved by Minister & [Attorney-General] is a real barrier to use public cloud,” wrote Stolk on his Twitter account. “The flow chart shows all flow that has personal info going to the Minister!” And then, the CIO added: “The process just seems too risk averse. Privacy risk outways security, which can be assessed at the agency level.”
Although the Australian Sports Commission represents a relatively minor part of the Federal Government’s IT spend, Stolk himself is a veteran in government technology circles. The executive has served the ASC as CIO for four and a half years, and has also held senior technology positions at the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, as well as at IT services company KAZ (now part of Fujitsu).
Stolk told iTNews, which first reported this story (we recommend readers click through to read iTNews story as well; it contains further details), that his views were personal and not the views of his agency; but he also added that there was a disconnect on the issue between the Attorney-General’s Department and AGIMO.
I strongly agree with Stolk. I published an extensive analysis of this precise situation on Delimiter 2.0 several weeks ago (paywalled), including a detailed criticism of the concept of “risk” as detailed in the new policy. My key introductory paragraph:
“The Federal Government has taken many positive steps forward in the past year with respect to freeing up its departments and agencies to adopt the new class of cloud computing technologies. But the release of an overly bureaucratic policy this month on offshore data storage has the potential to set that progress back substantially, relying as it does on several outdated concepts of risk management in IT projects.”
To tell you the truth, I’m not surprised to see a mid-level CIO like Stolk expressing his opinion on this issue in public. The launch of the new policy must have come as a surprise to many IT executives in the Federal Government. From AGIMO and departments such as DBCDE, they’re getting the view that cloud computing is an emerging paradigm which they need to consider in all their IT purchases. But from the Attorney-General’s Department, they’re getting the opposite view — roadblocks and all.
The fact that the CIO chose to speak out reveals that the Attorney-General’s Department didn’t consult enough internally in the Federal Government on this one. It seems obvious that if Stolk was surprised by the release of this policy, then many others in similar positions would have been surprised as well. I applaud Stolk for at least having the courage to raise the issue in public in the diplomatic manner he did, and we need more of this kind of effort from senior public servants across a wide range of areas. In this context, the few sentences which Stolk put on Twitter about the issue, as his personal view, would very much represent the tip of the iceberg in terms of this situation. I’ll be seeing if I can plumb some of those depths over the next several months.
Image credit: Steven Stolk
Blog, Policy + Politics - Jul 31, 2015 12:43 - 0 Comments
More In Policy + Politics
- Four months later, data retention funding model still incomplete
- Less talk, more action: Entrepreneur tells ‘Labor for Innovation’
- Bronny Copter is here to save us from Bishop’s Choppergate
- 7:30 exposes Aussie Hacking Team industry
- Hypocrisy? Fletcher pushs tech exports to China while TSSR bill looms
Blog, Enterprise IT - Jul 31, 2015 14:16 - 1 Comment
More In Enterprise IT
- Microsoft wants to win you back with Windows 10
- Qld Govt Depts have no disaster recovery plan
- ASD releases Windows 8 hardening guide
- ASG picks up $35m CIMIC IT services deal
- Datacom completes mammoth Health ICT takeover
Industry, News - Jul 28, 2015 12:37 - 0 Comments
More In Industry
- iiNet shareholders vote ‘yes’ for TPG buyout
- iiNet chairman “proud” as TPG sell-out looms
- Kotaku alleges abuse, gross staff neglect at retailer EB Games
- Aussie software firm Marketplacer grabs $10m
- Expert360 pulls in $4.1m for consultancy 2.0
Consumer Tech, News - Jul 29, 2015 17:14 - 11 Comments
More In Consumer Tech
- Older Australians embracing video games
- Gasp … Qld will fuel electric vehicle charging stations with solar
- Oops … Tesla enthusiast charges car on Qld windfarm
- Netflix Australia: Review
- RAC builds electric vehicle highway in WA