FBI, Computers A Difficult Match

from the boondoggle dept

It seems that the FBI can’t do anything right these days. They’ve been trying to upgrade their computer systems for ages, and finally got a big push after September 11 happened. However, now Congress is starting to get angry as they realize that the new computer system is full of glitches and likely to cost taxpayers an extra 30% over the initial budget. Congress is cutting back on the money they’re allocating the FBI, which means they’re suddenly less likely to have the tools they want to spy on citizens everyday. Of course, once the next big terrorist event happens, I’m sure money will (once again) be more forthcoming. Besides, by then, perhaps whatever new name the TIA hides under will be up and running and open for domestic spying on citizens.

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Comments on “FBI, Computers A Difficult Match”

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dorpus says:

Dilemma of federal IT budgets

There is a chronic need for huge IT overhauls throughout the federal government. Typically, legislators start to authorize it, then balk at the price tag. Also, who to buy the equipment/services from becomes a politically charged issue. This is why I don’t think the TIA will ever happen; it has received too much publicity, so people will be upset over the price tag and the presumed favors that any vendors will receive.

The NSA has gotten around this problem by:

1. being a no-publicity branch of government
2. using their own proprietary operating system and equipment

All the noise about new domestic spying agencies is just a dog-and-pony show. In the end, the work will be done by Canadian or British intelligence agencies. We have reciprocal agreements where the NSA listens in on phone calls in Britain/Canada and passes the information to British/Canadian intelligence agencies (which are forbidden from spying on their own citizens), in exchange for Canadians and Brits listening to our phone calls.

LittleW0lf says:

Re: Dilemma of federal IT budgets

Dorpus, for once I almost agree with you. Well, except for the conspiracy theory about the NSA.

Government has a hard time when it comes to IT. They don’t have the technical resources to figure out just what they need, because anyone with that skill has likely moved on to commercial enterprises. The pay for compitent technical resources leaves little desire for most folks to stay with or work for government. And those few who stay often burn out quick as stuff is piled on them. Not all Government, mind you, but most of Government.

And even when government does have the technical expertise to figure out what they want, there is so much red tape and contract backbiting out there to make sure that they don’t get what they want. Just look at the whole situation with Microsoft…attacking government (i.e. Houston,) in courts for “improper contract negotiation,” to stop Houston’s move to non-Microsoft software.

We have a number of servers at work which are running on significantly older hardware, and keeping the hardware running often times is as big of a chore as systems administration of the systems. However, Government makes do with what it can, after all Linux/BSD run better on old hardware than Windows2K, so maybe that isn’t much of a cutback.

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