back to article Taxpayers may ship 736 iPads to Brussels

Each and every member of the European Parliament (MEP) may soon receive a brand-spanking new, "magical and revolutionary" Apple iPad. And no, they wouldn't pay for them out of their own pockets. According to The Times, the 736 MEPs would each receive an iPad as part of a £4.3m ($6.2m) taxpayer-funded "IT mobility project". …


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  1. Mr Brush

    At last...

    So that's where the mythical high level managers who need to 'look at reports', but don't produce anything have been hiding.

    I can't even muster the energy to be outraged.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    I don't like it..

    ... and am not referring to using taxpayers money to pay for it. But the fact that officials will be using such device, that is still under the control of the manufacture, for their official communication.

    unlike a PC which can be secured using 3rd party software (multiple commercial entities have to corporate to bug the system), the iPad can not be secured in the same way. The product as a whole come from a single commercial entity that still maintain control over it once it is sold and is in the hands of the official (and yes, Apple will *know* which official is using it from their iTunes store).

    P.S. Yes, I have the same problem when officials uses their mobiles or Blackberries to discuses sensitive information.

    Now I'll get my coat and leave since my way of thinking isn't welcome.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      And they're made in China... Foxconn.

      1. Will.
        Thumb Down

        @ Made in China by Foxconn

        Yeah, just like 90% of everything else electronic. What's your point?

        1. Anonymous Coward

          Re: @ Made in China by Foxconn

          (Note that "@" is for addressing a person, not a concept.)

          The point? Well, eyes forward, everyone! Your corporate masters have decided that lots of cheap consumer stuff is what you want, to hell with how it's delivered. Oh, and it's your fault.

          Yes, eyes forward, now. Don't question anything at all.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Title, required, one.

    They can have their ipad if they promise to stop moving between Brussels and Strasbourgh. And otherwise stop wasting money with their knee-jerking and incestuous brown-nosing. But then they're politicians. If you put such people in charge, they'll find ever new ways to waste money.

  4. Lloyd


    Will Nick Griffin be demanding a white one?

  5. Barry Tabrah

    2nd hand iPad market

    Looking for a 2nd hand iPad at a reasonable price? One previous owner, unit barely used. Then come to Brussels! The trains and buses will be positively bristling with forgotten Apple goodness.

    1. andy gibson

      @Barry Tabrah

      Left on buses and trains? Nah, we all know that the Euro fat cats have their own limos and don't have to use public transport.

  6. Ian Yates
    Big Brother


    Not knowing what use they actual envisage for the iPads, do they even pass the usual government security measures?

    BBs have a lot of layers of security that need to be approved for government use (famously, in the USA).

    Anyone know what they want iPads for? BBs (or equivalent) are surely better for email-on-the-go, reviews I've read say that they're obviously not for desktop publising...

    I'll take the news with a pinch of salt until I see otherwise.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      MEPs are not in government

      The European Parliament is a sort of public forum for waffling. Occasionally they vote on something, but the real decision makers are not obliged to pay any attention to the result of that vote. I don't think anyone would entrust MEPs with anything that has to be kept secret.

      Or has that all changed now? There was some talk about giving the European Parliament some limited powers ...

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Oink, oink...

    I fancy getting my nose in the trough for a few years...what qualifications do I need to be an MEP? I imagine free ipads is merely the tip of the perks iceberg.

    Oh that's right none; just a flexible moral code, and a good nose for pork.

  8. Ben Rosenthal

    these are

    of course many of the same excuses I used for wanting a new Amiga 500 back when I was a lad.

  9. Chris Hatfield

    Not so worried about the (up to) £900 for an iPad

    More worried when reporters, in undercover stings, show them as selling their services for a grand a day.

    They won't be allowed to put classified info on it (due to lack of encryption) so it really is a toy. Or a newsreader. Or a content consumption device.

  10. DaveB

    Brussels.......we may have a problem

    If you hop onto the EU website you will see details as to how to install Adobe Flash so that you can view their webcasts.

    I don't think that the iPad will like that.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    More Concerned By Andreasen's Ground for Objection

    According to her; "many of the older MEPs don't even know how to use the internet properly". Sounds like they need to learn a few skills in order to be able to effectively perform their duties as public servants to me. We're not talking about providing services to old folks homes, we're talking about providing tools to employees to carry out their jobs. If they can't hack it, they should retire.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      @ Barry O'Connell

      people can be productive without using computers, as long as you can read your reports, *understand* those reports, able to *think* and make *decisions* based on those report(1). Then you are good.

      letting the secretary type your report for you is of no relevance. If anything, I'd rather have my MP doing some *real* work instead of wasting time typing his/her own email or twittering or blogging.

      meeting real people is better then being happy with facebook friends. Just because you need to use facebook to reach young people nowadays, doesn't change the fact that you need to *visit* schools to know *firsthand* how things are going.

      this is my own personal and biased opinion, but I don't think that someone's computer skills should matter if they are _NOT_ expected to stay informant of one.

      (1) and hopefully by honest while making your decisions.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        @ AC Tuesday 25th May 2010 10:45 GMT

        The bigger concern, which I didn't make very clear is the suggestion that not having the skill to use a tool is reason enough not to attempt to introduce the tool. It suggests and unwillingness to learn or improve and in my biased opinion, such a position is not one I would expect or admire in a leader.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Thumb Up

          @Barry O'Connell Tuesday 25th May 2010 12:19 GMT

          If you put that way, then I'll agree with you.


  12. PJ513

    Taxpayers may ship 736 iPads to Brussels

    Aside from the cost of these things, if they are purchased in UK, they will be fitted with a UK SIM card, so when they are travelling around Europe wasting taxpayers money and surfing porn, they will need to use Data Roaming - £3/Mb in EU and £6/Mb Outsiide EU. Who is going to foot the bill for this.

    At a time of cost cutting, a more cost effective alternative should be investigated. The MEPs need a practical solution, not a status symbol.

    1. The First Dave


      The article hardly makes this sound like a done deal, so what makes you think it would be a 3G model, or that if it is, that the EU would pay for the contract?

    2. Steve Todd

      How many times do we have to say this?

      The iPad ISN'T locked to a carrier (excepting, for unexplained reasons, in Japan). Stuff in a data SIM from whichever local carrier you feel like and pay local rates. You never use them for phonecalls so it doesn't matter if the associated telephone number changes.

      You can argue over whether or not the European parliament should exist, but in terms of a solution to the problem of reading proposed legislation and emails the iPad isn't a bad idea. It's reasonably portable, is easy to use (for the duffers), has a decent sized, high quality screen, can be PIN locked and remote wiped in case of loss. There should be no need for more than the base 16GB 3G model (16GB is a LOT of emails and documents) plus the case, so £560, which isn't big money for a decent laptop (you don't honestly think they'd buy entry level netbooks do you?).

  13. Strett

    European Alternatives

    Silly waste of money really.

    If they feel they gain major benefits from this then why not use a European alternative - the WeTab - not only a better device but created in Europe so Europeans and not Americans are benefitting most out of it.

    1. Steve Todd


      the manufacturers of the WeTab have seen fit to use an Intel Atom N450, so it's unlikely that it will hit their 6 hour battery target (it's probably going to have 1/2 of the life of the iPad), and we're still some way from seeing a working version of it.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Euro Parliament!


    It has always been a gravy train and nothing else! Crikey, even Rik Mayall's odious character Alan B'Stard, said as much back in the early nineties!

    What's wrong with chucking them a load of Acer or MSI Wind notebooks with Windows or whatever flavour of Linux is currently popular? Nope!

    What sickens me most is that these freebies are just a tiny little drop in a freaking huge ocean of expenditure that makes the UK parliamentary "over-spend", look like a kid going down to the corner shop and spending a few pence more on some sweets than he was allowed to by his Mum!

    1. MonkeyBot

      Not a gravy train...'s a gravy boat.

      It's similar, but it moves slower and carries more people.

      Where's the Sir Humphrey icon?

  15. Mark 65

    Surprise surprise

    Still, Marta Andreasen, the UKIP member who sits on the budgets and budgetary controls committees, told The Times that she finds the expenditure "completely unnecessary, especially when European taxpayers are facing such difficult times."

    So it turns out that politicians everyone couldn't give a flying one about massive debts hanging around the necks of tax-payers as long as their little gravy train rolls ever onwards - who'd have thunk it?

  16. Magnus_Pym

    Ooh there's a surprise

    The Times writing a knocking piece about Brussels. Oh then again let me have a closer look.

    unnamed insider... check

    speculation used as fact... check

    proposal stated as done deal... check

    figures plucked from thin air... check

    No I take it all back. It's just the same as always.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Just like the council who were gong to give all their councillors iPads, which was going to be a total waste of council tax payer's money. Except the story turned out to be made up by the newspaper in question and noone was even thinking about buying any iPads...

  17. Anonymous Coward

    The Internet

    Is spelled with a capital 'I'.

    It may be acceptable now in popular writing to spell it with a lower-case initial, but in technical writing we must be clear that we are talking about The Internet and not just any old internet.

  18. Bill B
    Thumb Down

    This sounds very familiar

    Ah yes .. February of this year .. "Cambridgeshire City Council under fire for iPad proposal". After a lot of huffing and puffing it turns out the Council had been tasked with reducing paper and the possibility of using notebook and tablet devices was considered. Note the word 'considered'. Nowhere was the use of the iPad mentioned.

    I just wonder if the background to this story is similar. Some enthusiastic UKIP member has jumped on a bandwagon and sexed up the story maybe? And there you are .. even i am speculating at this point!

    Can we have an iPad icon? .. we get enough El-Reg stories to warrant it.

  19. Kay Burley ate my hamster
    Thumb Up


    "many of the older MEPs don't even know how to use the internet properly"

    That's ok, the iPad won't be exposing them to the proper Internet anyway! I wonder if this could lead to a browser ballot screen? :D

  20. The BigYin

    Why an iPad?

    Surely as members of the EUROPEAN parliament they should by a EUROPEAN product. Like the "wePad" (I think that was it) and use a EUROPEAN OS like Mandriva (or something).

    Or (and I like this idea better) we can give them a pencil, paper and tell them to ram the secret meetings right up their collective arse.

    If they really need a portable computing device, they can use a laptop like everyone else (from a EUROPEAN vendor).

  21. theloon

    More MEP nonsense,,

    Dreading coming back to the UK for a year and having to pay for all of this crap again with masses of tax.....

    Just one year, then I'm bailing.

  22. Dom 1
    Jobs Horns


    They are going to get 368 individuals to buy the iPads, as the Great Steve Jobs (sic) has decreed that you can only buy 2 per person?

  23. Anonymous Coward

    purchase computers instead

    Instead of wasting money on toys they should purchase real computers... what a concept ...

  24. Giles Jones Gold badge

    Where's the story?

    Government agency buys computer hardware, so what?

    I've often thought that if the devices supplied to employees were nice looking and good to use that they wouldn't get left in Taxis so much. I'm sure that's how some employees try to get an upgrade for their dull plasticy laptops.

    Mind you my theory fails since Apple lost a pre-production iPhone 4.

  25. Anonymous Coward

    Sounds like good value!

    Knowing that Leeds City Council recently bought a shedload of tablet PCs (crappy HP laptops with stylus) for staff at about £1200 each, this sounds like the deal of the century!

    AC for reasonable reasons.

  26. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Great idea

    if its anything like the Iphone it will improve the MEP's productivity to the point of not doing anything at all and all those lobbyists sidestepping democracy will be on the receiving end of how great the Ipad is until they have go and get one and be so unproductive that lobbying will die out and we might just be able to get on with out lives.

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