Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 5th Sep 2011 22:26 UTC
Privacy, Security, Encryption So, people from within Iran have hacked the Dutch company DigiNotar, allowing them to issue fake certificates so they could listen in on Iranian dissidents and other organisation within Iran. This is a very simplified version of the story, since it's all quite complicated and I honestly don't even understand all of it. In any case, DigiNotar detected the intrusion July 19, but didn't really do anything with it until it all blew up in their face this past week. Now, the Dutch government has taken over operational management of DigiNotar... But as a Dutch citizen, that doesn't really fill me with confidence, because, well - whenever the Dutch government does anything even remotely related to IT technology, they mess it up. And mess it up bad.
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That is a problem not just in IT, but everywhere. Particularly in public projects those in charge favour cheap projects over slightly more expensive (but significantly better projects).

Unfortunately this is required by law (at least in Belgium, but probably in most countries). Government projects must always choose the cheapest solution that fulfils the requirements. Which makes sense in a way: why waste taxpayer's money on more expensive contracts?

However, in practice, companies abuse this the same way Ryanair cheats on you: hiding costs everywhere or just plain lying about it. It requires a lot of expertise to write a perfect contract and make the right decision in so far the law allows you. Most government workers do not have this expertise, especially not local ones). This results in very poor solutions, often never finished.

There have been a few big cases like this here. The government has now sued several of those companies but meanwhile they don't have the money for an alternative solution (with the same risks) and lawyers aren't exactly cheap either.

Edited 2011-09-06 12:22 UTC

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