back to article Government plans emergency extranet

The Civil Contingencies Secretariat and Communities and Local Government are developing a National Resilience Extranet. They have signed a contract with BT to provide the service, which will enable the secure exchange of information in response to civil emergencies such as floods and outbreaks of agricultural diseases. The …


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  1. Martin Lyne

    "They have signed a contract with BT"

    Good start. How long beofre all the kit gets nicked?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pffft !

    Yeah, we've got secure information exchange, it's called the Royal Mail !

    Anything more technical is beyond the government.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Screw me.

    Someone acting rather than reacting. Whatever next?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    A secure government network?

    That'll be running an unpatched version of Windows 98SE (it's so old, no-one will want to hack it) and allow confidential data to be either transmitted as cleartext over standard 433MHz RF (to avoid WiFi hackers) or using USB sticks (with no password, but a "do not read / please return to" address printed on the side).

    The password will be "changeme".

  5. this


    What? BT!? We're all doomed.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    So a big f-ing wiki then, - London is about to flood [citation needed]

  7. Secretgeek
    Thumb Down

    Good to know.

    That, come the next impending apocalyptic disaster, HM Gov will still be able to issue me with a parking ticket.

  8. Nick L

    Oxymoron ?

    Will it be any more resilient than their existing resilience feedback page, do you think ?

  9. Neil Stansbury



    Need very hi-speed, EM free, resilient, secure data links across UK.

    Option 1 - Civil Servant Solution:

    Pay a company bucket loads of our cash to provide a mediocre service.


    Civil servants get to blame company when it goes wrong.

    Option 2 - Common Sense Solution:

    Run a bundle of fibre optic cables under the central reservations of the M1, M6 & M4


    1. We would then lease half the fibres to commercial entities to pay for the installation and generate a revenue for the state and we no longer need to pay for all these expensive links for the existing useless intranets the government has put in place.

    2. Ultra fast broadband backbone across UK

    Of course as we don't employ civil servants with brains, talent or ability we'll take option 1

  10. RW
    Thumb Down

    "Government plans ... "

    My immediate reaction to the first two words in the headline was "the UK govt couldn't plan its way out of a wet paper bag if it had to."

    Take this as hard evidence that the worldwide opinion of NuLabour is a bunch of total incompetents, incompetent at everything, fit for nothing, and ruining anything they touch. A sort of anti-Midas government that converts gold to cack.

    Perhaps el Reg can keep a special eye on these plans and give us a blow by blow account as they morph into the usual NuLab IT debacle?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @ Neil

    You've not spent much time planning secure networks Neil? Or in fact any networks?

    First off - the central reservation of motorways? So that any installation or maintenance work requires the motorways to be closed or hefty roadworks to be implemented? Just laying the ducting would take years. How are you going to power and protect repeaters? Try achieving a 2-hour repair when you need to get the police to shut a motorway for you. There's a very good reason that there are no telecomms cables run along motorways.

    Secondly - motorways tend to connect major cities. In the event of hostile acts wouldn't it tend to be those major cities that are affected? Do you think that in the case of dire emergency that military and government personnel head lemming-like to the centre of the nearest major city? In any civil emergency the motorways tend to be rather crowded - again making any kind of maintenance or repair activity 'tricky'.

    Laying fibres is also not quite the same as building a resilient network. The kit on the end is kind of important. Unless your super secure approach is to give people torches and books on how to send morse code? A torch is admittedly impervious to EM.

    There are dozens of operators providing high-speed backbones across the UK. Shoving some fibres along the M4 won't change much in terms of UK broadband. Operators selling dark fibre or managed services can't fill the capacity they have now - who's going to lease these new circuits?

    Lastly - most complex problems don't have blindingly obvious "doh" type solutions. The world is complicated, the requirements are complicated and the solutions are too. That's why companies and individuals who have the knowledge, expertise and experience to provide those solutions can charge lots of money for their services.

  12. g00p
    Paris Hilton

    @ neil stansbury

    ..mate, I do hope you're (for our reputations sake) not a network analyst of any kind.. you work for the Government?

    Half the UK has fibre networks now dude, so no patent awards fo yo.

    AC @ Neil above has pretty much ironed out the glitch that was your suggestion but perhaps it might have been good to expand on what options actually would work..

    Satellites.. duuh!

    Or maybe if the Gov't actually replied to its councils emails or telephone calls - they wouldn't be wasting a whole load of our money [again]

    Mines the greedy, wasteful bitch that just doesn't have a clue...yes Labour *ahem* Paris.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Get the popcorn...

    ...and pull up a seat.

    I have my predicting head on...

    The gumment will have specified something huge and unwieldy without thinking through the challenges. BT will have responded with "we can do that for

    It will take half a year to come up with CoCos for uncertified networks to connect to a GSi/xGSi backbone.

    In parallel there will be discussions on how people authenticate. They will settle on a T-FA that is so complex and costly to administer that some key organisations fail to sign up.

    I suspect documents up to RESTRICTED at the very lowest will be planned on the network. So add another year to bring in the procedures for making sure that everyone who can access it are at least SC and all machines on the network are Xcryptored.

    About then, when BT have stuffed themselves at the trough and the budget is dwindling, it's scoped down to a collaboration portal accessed via a IPSEC vpn with publically available unclassified information. The potential users will look at it and wonder why they should pay 85 a seat a year and CCS and CLG (or whatever there names will be by then) will be the only contributors.

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