back to article The only way is Office: UK Parliament to migrate to Microsoft cloud

The UK Parliament is migrating to Office 365, which will become the default option for email, file-sharing, hosted apps and storage services for MPs and parliamentary staff from May 2015. Like many organisations, Parliament has decided that moving to the cloud offers the potential for financial savings. A January meeting of …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What could go wrong

    Probably not a lot as I suspect NSA probably already has access to it all anyway

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: What could go wrong

      But this way we will all have access to it as well.

      650 MPs , 1000s of researchers/assistants/etc most of which are unqualified wives/children/distant relatives of MPs. So 98.6% of passwords are going to be "password123" - it should finally lead to open government

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What could go wrong

        Utter rubbish!

        You need an least a capital in there, so I think you'll find it's Password123 and maybe if it's really "complex".

        Password1!

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: What could go wrong

          But to do capitals on an iPad don't you need opposable thumbs?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: What could go wrong

          Pa55w0rd for extra security.

          1. Amorous Cowherder
            Facepalm

            Re: What could go wrong

            "Pa55w0rd for extra security."

            Waaaayyy too many places I've seen that are still using that one!

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: What could go wrong

            How about Pa$$w0rd? It meets complexity requirements including mixed case, mixed alpha and numeric and non-numeric/alpha. But still only 8 characters so you can remember it without writing it down on a post-it note stuck on the monitor/laptop.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Obvious

    Speaks volumes on the complicity of the US/UK shared data harvesting and the contempt with which MPs treat the people who elected them.

    1. doronron

      To sum up

      Obama gets most of his morning digest from the PRISM program.

      NSA leaks show it has a secret policy of keeping UK information even despite the no-spy gentlemans agreement.

      Snowden leaks show Britain allowed it to keep email data on Brits.

      Merkel/Sarkozy leaks shows they spy on politicians.

      Snowden interview shows they use data to leverage control of political and economic figures.

      Despite this, they're migrating to a US controlled cloud. That will mean that Obama can monitor policies at the fledgling stage, before they're discussed, before they're voted on, and work to eliminate those at an early stage, or work to marginalize any politician with policies he doesn't like.

      The job of securing British political emails, and protect them from foreign spies is GCHQs. Are they really so broken and 'turned' that they permitted this cloud move???

      Really?

      What next? US based cloud voting?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: To sum up

        Are they really so broken and 'turned' that they permitted this cloud move???

        What I do not see yet is which cloud this will sit in. I don't think government standards will allow a foreign hosted cloud, so I would assume that there is at least some containment - that's where I would ask the questions.

        Not that it matters much, they're using Microsoft. That's game over right there.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: To sum up

          > I don't think government standards will allow a foreign hosted cloud

          True, they won't allow one. They will probably demand one.

        2. Lusty

          Re: To sum up

          "What I do not see yet is which cloud this will sit in"

          The Azure/Office 365 EU cloud I'd imagine in Ireland and Netherlands which, given that it's not sensitive data will be absolutely fine and (apparently) not subject to the Patriot Act. All this info is on the MS website if you choose to read it, the solution is actually pretty good now albeit still with a few limitations. The data centre will certainly not be in England (or UK) though, they don't have one which has been publicly disclosed for the cloud here and given how specific the documentation is I doubt they have an undisclosed cloud DC here either. There's an outside chance they might add an Azure pod to one of the Microsoft Corp DCs just for government of course, MS love to win government contracts one way or another :)

          1. The First Dave

            Re: To sum up

            All data in the possession of a US-based company is subject to the Patriot Act, regardless of the location of that data.

          2. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: To sum up

            $orkplace checked (nice to have a bunch of lawyers on retainer)

            The Irish and NL cloud servers ARE subject to the PATRIOT Act.

            $orkplace moved to office365 anyway.

            DOH!

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: To sum up

          "What I do not see yet is which cloud this will sit in. I don't think government standards will allow a foreign hosted cloud..."

          You mean... the cloud has to be somewhere physical??? But we thought... "IT'S THE CLOUD - IT'S EVERYWHERE AND NOWHERE".

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: It's everywhere and nowhere

            "IT'S THE CLOUD - IT'S EVERYWHERE AND NOWHERE".

            It's everywhere and no where, baby

            That's where it's at

            []

            Saying everything is groovy

            When your tyres are flat

            []

            Files are in your pea soup, baby

            They're waving at me

            Anything you want is yours now

            Only nothing is for free

            Lies are gonna get you some day

            Just wait and see

            So open up your beach umbrella

            While you're watching TV

            [Can you tell what it is yet? 1967, if that helps - how did he know?]

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    I suppose this saves costs

    As the data doesn't have to be sent to America over a separate line anymore. Smart thinking.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hmmmm

    So when they can't pay the (possibly substantial) subscription, all parliamentary procedures stop, yes?

    "I'm sorry, UK Government Procurement Advisor, Microsoft have to increase your subscription by 1000% this year, and we project the same or greater for the next 5 years. OK, you don't want to pay? Well, we'll generously give you 28 days to extract your data from our services. You still have some legacy in-house services left, don't you?"

    I must admit that I see this whole policy as full of risk. I just hope that they can specify that the data must not be stored anywhere in US juristriction. Imagine someone doing a "Bradley (or should that be Chelsea) Manning" on the MPs email and official correspondence.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Hmmmm

      No - as a wholly owned subsidiary UK Govt Inc can use the US government's site licence

    2. Richard Plinston

      Re: Hmmmm

      > the data must not be stored anywhere in US juristriction.

      How can possibly work, the Americans think US jurisdiction applies to the whole world.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hmmmm

      I'm sure whoever is negotiating the contract will include a fair price increase clause, oh wait it's the UK government we're talking about.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This will end well

  6. HollyHopDrive

    Have we learned nothing....

    ....from the whole snowden thing? (not his leaking of documents but what he actually leaked) - the spooks of all nations seem to have infiltrated a lot of big companies either by hook or crook. Either way it makes no jeffin' difference - this is not a secure way for *any* government to do business with data. I don't care if its the MP's paper clip expenses or nuclear weapons purchases it shouldn't be in the cloud.

    And as for letting M$ get the gig, jeezus. We need to get out of bed with that one. (I'm not suggesting google would be better btw) - but thats one supplier that needs to be removed from their far too powerful position within gov. Then again your average MP is a bit simple and probably couldn't cope with anything else or understand why alternatives may actually be cheaper.

    Anyway, if they move gov data to cloud and this will end in tears I predict.... (not least from our own hacking newspapers :) [though I hope I am proved wrong]

    1. deadlockvictim Silver badge

      Re: Have we learned nothing....

      It's all right. Friends don't spy on friends. The UK parlamentarians will have nothing to worry about in regards to security.

      I bet that they are already looking forward to the five nines of access that they were surely promised.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Have we learned nothing....

        Friends ONLY spy on friends.

        Whats the point of knowing the launch codes for the Russian missiles? Unless there is a WWIII there is little value in knowing ANY enemy military info.

        Now whats the value in knowing the other Eu ministers position on agricultural subsidy cuts or on whether Scotland would be allowed into the Eu without the Euro?

        1. ToddR

          Re: Have we learned nothing....

          "Now whats the value in knowing the other Eu ministers position on agricultural subsidy cuts or on whether Scotland would be allowed into the Eu without the Euro?"

          No such thing as a discussion on EU agricultural cuts!

        2. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Have we learned nothing....

          "Unless there is a WWIII there is little value in knowing ANY enemy military info"

          It's worth knowing that Vlad at the missile base will not under any circumstances push the button to kill millions of civilians and has secretly cut the wires to make sure nothing happens if he does.

          (You think this hasn't happened?)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Have we learned nothing....

        "It's all right. Friends don't spy on friends".

        Which would be very reassuring, except that NATIONS DON'T HAVE FRIENDS. They have interests. (Ideally, those would be interests different from those of the ruling clique and their rich cronies... but let's try to live in the real world).

      3. blondie101

        Re: Have we learned nothing....

        And it convenient for the government too, to know everything of your members of parliament. Saves time. Why have a debate any more, you know all opinions in advance.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Have we learned nothing....

      Remember, these are MPs. Can you seriously expect them to learn something other than Microsoft Office and Windows?

      1. nice spam database '); drop table users; --

        Re: Have we learned nothing....

        Why do humans keep ignorant/incompetent people on the government, is something they will never understand...

        1. dajames
          Holmes

          Re: Have we learned nothing....

          Why do humans keep ignorant/incompetent people on the government, is something they will never understand...

          It keeps them off the streets ... and it's easier than educating them.

        2. Amorous Cowherder

          Re: Have we learned nothing....

          "Why do humans keep ignorant/incompetent people on the government, is something they will never understand..."

          'Cos even the most stupid buggers with half a brain cell have enough sense to keep well away!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Have we learned nothing....

        "Can you seriously expect them to learn something other than Microsoft Office and Windows?"

        We already expect them (or their staff) to re-learn radically different UIs and behaviours every time MS decide to radically change UIs and behaviours. Where's the problem (in that respect anyway)?

  7. keithpeter Silver badge
    Windows

    Hansard

    Well, the main story isn't a big surprise. What would have been a surprise would be Parliament adopting an open source solution with RDP into secure servers to cover BYOD - thus promoting a locally designed system from software houses near at hand...

    What I am interested in is what the Hansard gang are up to? If they wanted independence from MS, why on earth not just coopt existing open source software and put a bit of dosh into it?

    The tramp: I'll be selling the Big Issue if I don't get back to my paperwork, all done on a laptop running CentOS with Libreoffice. And yes, the hard drive is encrypted just to stop that 'data found on laptop left on the bus' issue.

  8. paulc
    Mushroom

    idiots... what better time to develop a self hosted open source solution...

    keep the data in your OWN cloud, keep the source code to yourselves... no need for an expensive license payment to a foreign company every year either...

    1. Lars Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: idiots... what better time to develop a self hosted open source solution...

      Yes, exactly, have your own cloud, if you like the name or your own servers, if you understand anything. Move to LibreOffice, skip MS, skip being lambs, skip supporting something you have absolutely no reason to support. Using the web, I have sometimes been ordered to upgrade to this or that MS product/version. Consider how much easier and more honest it would be to refer to a product that is free to download and works on almost any OS. Consider the independence and the savings you would achieve. Use your power, your brains, why a lamb for no reasons. Ask for help if you need it, support and take part in LibreOffice.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: idiots... what better time to develop a self hosted open source solution...

        You're talking about MPs not IT professionals.

        You seriously expect them to be able to operate an alternative office suite?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: idiots... what better time to develop a self hosted open source solution...

          "You seriously expect them to be able to operate an alternative office suite?"

          Of course not. But I do expect them to be able to hire someone who can - for a lot less money than M$$$$.

        2. dajames
          Windows

          Re: idiots... what better time to develop a self hosted open source solution...

          You seriously expect them to be able to operate an alternative office suite?

          I doubt that more than a handful of them are actually competent at using the tools they're allegedly already familiar with, so I can't see them being any less able with any alternative.

          It's not as though LibreOffice was staggeringly dissimilar from Microsoft Office, especially Microsoft Office 2003 which is what they've all been using until very recently. I should think the ribbon has proved more of a challenge than switching to LibreOffice would have been.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: idiots... what better time to develop a self hosted open source solution...

        "Move to LibreOffice, skip MS"

        The difficulty there is alluded to in the article where it's mentioned they are using Word templates. Based on my very limited experience with a single Govt. dept, these are not just simple templates but programmed (VBScript??) templates which lead the user through filling out forms or reports in a specific way, often for legal reasons.

        1. Christian Berger

          Re: idiots... what better time to develop a self hosted open source solution...

          "these are not just simple templates but programmed (VBScript??)"

          Actually Munich had a lot of trouble with those, however they managed and were able to get those scripts out there and replace them with self written software.

    2. ElNumbre
      Facepalm

      Re: idiots... what better time to develop a self hosted open source solution...

      MMmm yes, because government IT projects have an excellent history of finishing on time and within budget.

    3. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: idiots... what better time to develop a self hosted open source solution...

      >keep the data in your OWN cloud

      Yes this would seem sensible, particularly as MS Office 365 with IL2 accreditation is available via G-Cloud and so Parliament would avoid all those data sovereignty and security issues that need to be tackled just because Parliament has decided not to use the G-Cloud procurement framework.

      Giving Ms credit for being sharp salesmen, it wouldn't surprise me for MS to wrapper the G-Cloud service up and resell it to Parliament as MS Office 365P ('P' for Parliament) at a suitable price premium.

      But yes agree it does look like yet another opportunity for the government to reinvest taxpayer's monies in UK-based software expertise has been missed.

  9. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Malice or incompetence?

    I honestly can't work out which it is.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Malice or incompetence?

      Assume it's malice. Generations of 30-year-rule revelations have shown that it's a safe bet.

    2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Malice or incompetence?

      You mis-spelled "and".

  10. wowfood

    I think this was covered in BOFH 12

    "So you want to keep data which is local, only ever going to be local, only needed locally, never accessed remotely, not WANTED to be made available outside our building, which can only WEAKEN our security by being off site, hosted offsite."

    "On the cloud. Yes."

    "Why?"

    "Well, because it's the way of the future."

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The person responsible for this folly needs sacked.

    I do not want my details held in a cloud based service ran by a 3rd party.

    I can choose partners to trade with, I can not chose the civil servants whose decisions are usually very poor, based on their track record!

    1. JQW

      No, they shouldn't be sacked. They should be arrested and charged with treason, as that's what effectively they've done.

  12. MrXavia

    Thousands of hackers & the NSA rub their hands with glee at the news....

    So 80% can be stored in the cloud... Surely that is just DUMB, with MP's leaving documents on the train, you just know they will save the wrong thing in the cloud, and that will end up in the hands of the NSA anyway you look at it... 300k savings? that is peanuts compared to keeping data safe...

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: "So 80% can be stored in the cloud"

      Two problems. Firstly, you are relying on researchers and assistants to decide whether the topic under discussion falls in the 80% or the 20%. Secondly, in the latter case you are relying on them to know where the pigeon hole is for the secure stuff.

      It sounds to me like the IT department has just punted responsibility for data security over to the end-users. Just as well that Parliament doesn't do anything important.

  13. xyz Silver badge

    I still find it hilarious that the FCO...

    offers IL2 and IL3 cloud services in a very secure data centre (somewhere in darkest Engerland near the M1, just north of Newport Pagnell and left a bit) and no other dept appears willing to buy from them. Joined up warfare. I've just have an image of 2 male bonobo dept heads penis fencing.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I still find it hilarious that the FCO...

      Because its not core business for them and when their field of dreams is still not visited and a change of policy/direction occurs, everyone who made what appeared to be a sensible choice is left hanging in the wind. Oh and all govt depts hate each other natch so it is just that, a field of dreams.

  14. Tim99 Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Beyond parody?

    In answer to my own title, no it is not. I worked with people like this in Government. It is the new version of "nobody gets fired for buying IBM", but sometimes people get sidelined or promoted out of the way.

  15. Alister

    Never mind all the fluff and flurry about the NSA / other foreign intelligence services, Office365 has been shown to be unreliable at best, with a number of outages this year, as well as losing various client's data.

    What a good idea to entrust it with government internal communications, how long before they break it?

    1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

      Office365 outages

      Some years ago I sat down to prepare our local council AGM papers for the AGM the next day. That was the afternoon that IT decided to shut the entire system down for maintenance.

  16. Dick Emery

    Document? What document? I see no document.

    It's so they can conveniently lose any 'evidence' should you decide to complain or investigate any past issues.

    "No Sir/Madam if it's not on our 'Cloud' then we don't believe it ever happened."

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This would be seen as an issue by any country's independent government

    But for the lickspittle UK gov to now formally hand over control to a US corporation and the closely attached NSA apparatus is a no-brainer really.

  18. Tim 11

    payback time

    Governments have been spying on us poor citizens for years. Now finally it will be easy for the common man to snoop on the private lives of MPs

  19. Captain Scarlet
    Facepalm

    G Cloud

    "Parliament's IT function was not procured through G-Cloud, the procurement framework for government." Thats a good way to set an example for the rest of the Government departments!

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: G Cloud

      The beginning of the end for G-Cloud and the Cabinet Office Open Source intiative?

      In some ways it has echo's of the demise of the CCTA in the late 80's, just when it was beginning to deliver open systems procurement...

  20. gerdesj Silver badge

    They tried to write their own wordprocessor

    What madness is this?

    There are several open source ones available with working spell checkers already.

  21. RISC OS

    Doesn't anyone in the government...

    ...read the guardian?

    They may as just pay the nsa to host everything and save everythin on the nsa's servers

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Doesn't anyone in the government...

      What's particularly ironic, is that the Tory boys on the committee that grilled the Guardian's editor accused him of treason because he sent some of the Snowden files aborad. Yet here we have the unelected Lords permitting nearly all parliamentary data to be stored wherever MicroSoft want to (currently Ireland and the Netherlands). At least the Guardian used what they termed "military grade" encryption.

  22. Tyrion

    I am Jack's complete lack of surprise

    That the government selects a Micro$haft solution. I'm pretty sure everyone involved in the procurement process is a M$ flunky.

    >> Office 365 would ensure greater resilience against connection

    >> problems causing delays to emails as there were more access points to

    >> Microsoft’s servers than to Parliamentary servers.

    Obviously they haven't heard of all the downtime Azure, 365, and Outlook.com have been experiencing.

    >> Templates across both Houses would need to be redeveloped to

    >> work with Office 365. Training would be needed to realise the

    >> additional benefits of the software.

    So there's absolutely no benefit to using 365 other than lining the pockets of "certified" contractors and Micro$haft. Everyone will have to be retrained anyway.

    I'm sure the procurement officials enjoyed the wining and dining courtesy of M$.

  23. oiseau Silver badge
    Flame

    I stand in awe and utter disbelief ...

    Never thought I'd see something like this seriously discussed.

    What do these government people have inside their skulls?

    If it were an amerging democracy / economy, they'd be the laughing stock of the western world.

    Uncanny ...

  24. TRT Silver badge

    Oddly enough...

    our organisation has just done this and availability of the email system has dropped from 99.9% under the old 'nix regime to only 95%. Add that to the frustrations people are having with the web access version of Outlook, which doesn't seem to work properly on Firefox, and the random daily incompatibility quirks with Apple devices, and there are certain people in ISS who are beginning to wonder if it was such a good move after all. Particularly as the Microsoft rep ate all the Jammy Dodgers.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Oddly enough...

      Same here.

      My only consolation is that when users rant at me about the mail system I can smile and tell them it has nothing whatsoever to do with our group anymore and if they don't like it thay can take it up with the boss.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    Check List

    1) Check Calender, nope it's not April 1st.

    2) Slap self to make sure it's not a nightmare.

    3) Check glasses just in case someone hasn't swapped them for Google glasses and I'm watching an episode of Monty Python.

    4) Check ashtray, nope only cigarette dimps.

    Holy shit this must be for real.

    I thought that the people who ran this country were a bunch of incompetent twats, now I know it.

  26. codeusirae
    Facepalm

    Microsoft lawyers recommend Office 365 ..

    "Office 365 had a slightly higher risk relating to data sovereignty, but Microsoft’s and the Houses’ lawyers had considered the issue and felt that the chance of the risk materialising was low."

    "Office 365 would ensure greater resilience against connection problems causing delays to emails as there were more access points to Microsoft’s servers than to Parliamentary servers."

    And the NSA promise never-ever to read your email or listen-in to your Skype phone calls, even though the peer-to-peer calls are inexplicably routed through super-nodes in North America.

  27. Adam 1

    All these posts miss the point. I mean imagine the benefits. I mean you get nearly 29 days of uninterrupted access most months.

    1. herman Silver badge

      Considering their working hours, 29 days means that the honored gentlemen will have more than 100% spare capacity.

  28. Herbert Fruchtl

    Cloud

    Well, since GCHQ and NSA share all their knowledge anyway (at least in one direction...), this won't make a difference.

    A few years ago, long before Snowden, a UK University I know of decided to outsource their email. The students' accounts went to Google, but staff email is done by a local company who could guarantee that data won't end up on US servers. They are producing IP. They may do business with US companies of strategic interest (anybody big enough to afford a lobbyist in DC) or these companies' competitors, and the Patriot Act gives half the US public service access to any data they ask for.

    Good thing Westminster doesn't produce any information worth keeping secret.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    I'm taking bets on how long until the first "reply all" email disaster....

    "I've got another lunch with the Queen today. Seems the old bat wants someone to talk to about her corgis. Still, its better than sparring in Commons with Mr. Bean, er, Milliband, again."

  30. tempemeaty

    I wonder if the NSA will send a thank you card

    I'm sure the abusive US Gov with it's NSA collecting everything from Microsoft's cloud would be happy to hear about this new UK Parliament decision.

  31. herman Silver badge

    NSA Compatibility

    It is imperative that the House remains fully compatible with the NSA, GCHQ and FSB snooping systems and hosting on a Microsoft server farm is the best way to ensure that.

  32. Gray
    Devil

    Possible embarrassments

    "ring-ring"

    "Hallo, PM Beardsly-Smythe here."

    "Mr. Beardsly-Smythe, this is Microsoft Support Services calling. Sir, we've had a request from the White House."

    "I say, the White House!? You mean, the President?"

    "Yes, sir. I'm not at liberty to disclose how this happened, sir, but it concerns certain words you've added to your spell-checker in your Office 365 personal dictionary."

    "My dictionary! You mean, you blokes are peering into my personal word processor?"

    "Not exactly, sir. I mean, it's not exactly personal, sir, being in the 'cloud' and all ... but as I said earlier, I'm not at liberty to discuss the technical issues. I'm simply passing along a request from the President of the United States."

    "And what would that be, precisely?"

    "Sir, please ... you are requested to immediately delete the term "Barass Osama" from your Office 365 personal word-substitution dictionary. The President finds it quite offensive!"

  33. Steve B

    Money Saving?

    If they still have to maintain in house servers with access for the secure stuff, where are there any savings?

    It is a hell of a lot cheaper to put on extra disc space in house than it is to also pay extra licences for cloud access products. With the speed of internet connections nowadays it is also trivial to house remotely accessed systems inhouse and well protected.

    The only drawback is that someone needs to know what they are doing.

  34. gerryg
    Boffin

    longevity of Parliamentary records protects us all

    Our rights and freedoms derive from Statute law and case law. Statute law is ultimately based on Magna Carta first written in 1215, (the original is still readable and three clauses remain unrepealed). Case law stretches back even earlier than Magna Carta. Statutes used to be written on goatskin parchment using a special ink in acknowledgement of the need for longevity of the record.

    It is unlikely we are going to be so lucky with digital recordings of democracy in action (cf the BBC's Domesday project and the subsequent efforts required to preserve it) unless they focus on interoperability, which at a minimum requires unencumbered open standards, probably requires open source software and most certainly is threatened by remote hosting.

    BTW: Government <> Parliament so G-Cloud brings its own problems about separation of powers.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: longevity of Parliamentary records protects us all

      "It is unlikely we are going to be so lucky with digital recordings of democracy in action (cf the BBC's Domesday project and the subsequent efforts required to preserve it)"

      One of the positive outcomes of that project being so bloody hard to recover is that we use it as an object lesson for anyone who tries to pooh-pooh the importance of keeping data in readable formats AND on readable media.

      This has saved us (mostly) from having data lost when various proprietary database companies which XYZ reserch group insissted on using went titsup with no hope of ever getting the code to run on hardware and OSes less than 10 years old.

      (UK space science has lost a LOT of data over the years because of this. Many academics explicitly only think about data retention to the end of their paycheck and "don't give a flying fuck" about future researchers trying to use past data - those exact words when the subject is brought up - given it's kinda hard to refly a spac probe, that's a mindbogglingly selfish attitude and I only wish I was allowed to name'n'shame the dickheads concerned.)

  35. Julian Taylor Silver badge

    Our judicial system has been under US control for years now, so why not add our Parliamentary document management system to that as well; that way we are saving the NSA time and paperwork in filing requests to access MP's private documents.

    While we are on the subject, why don't we let Paypal's Russian equivalent handle all government finance - hell, it can't be any worse than Treasury losing £120Bn per annum and at least we would KNOW that the money has gone to a good cause since it generally comes back to the UK and gets invested in football teams and the occasional (UK made) luxury yacht?

  36. wolfetone Silver badge

    I love this line

    "Parliament has decided that moving to the cloud offers the potential for financial savings"

    It's ok, the Government can afford it. They just have to stick more tax on pasties to pay for it.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A suggestion..

    They really should have their internal Office 365 domain as "@muppetsukgov.mail.onmicrosoft.com"

  38. Skoorb

    On somewhat of a side note from the article...

    Creating a custom word processor for specialist tasks (as mentioned in the article) is easier than you think.

    One of the best examples, created in house cheaply, is ALMA (Automated Letter Management) from Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. It manages all the clinical correspondence from the doctors, even automatically injecting them into the right part of the electronic notes, and has an additional spell checker covering medical terminology.

    Take a look at http://alma.io/ for an example of IT Done Right for Once.

  39. Col_Panek

    Thank you so much

    For sending a steady stream of cash to my country. And your data.

    RESIST the urge to go to Munich and see how much they are saving. They are obviously Anti-American Neo-Nazis!

  40. Merlinski
    Joke

    HalfPastPolitician

    Now they just need a deal to run the algorithms developed by those clever chaps over at Half Past Human (http://www.halfpasthuman.com ) across all that parliamentary bumf so we can get decent predictions of when the aliens are finally going to admit they're here ...

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