Grumbles continue over secure email contract

Grumbles and confusion continue about the awarding of the government's secure email contract to three software products

Grumbles and confusion continue about the awarding of the government’s secure email contract to three software products. Critics say two products do not measure up to the specifications laid out during tendering . However, while criticisms are expressed in private,sources are unwilling to comment publically because they have hope of further work with the State Services Commission, which ran the tender for secure email. The secure email channel will be offered to all government agencies, once it has completed a pilot involving three departments. In order to preserve compatibility for email between departments, it was decided the chosen products should be compatible with the S-mime 3.0 standard. SSC spokesman Brendan Kelly told PC World two of the chosen solutions are not, in fact, fully compliant with that standard. “When we got the [request for proposal and tender] responses, it looked like the three [chosen] would all comply with the standard, but in the event, we had to step back to an earlier version for two. These are very close to compliance, and are on a path to full compliance by July 1, 2001.” SSC’s understands the Tumbleweed MMS product (previously known as WorldSecure) is the only one fully compliant; the other two, Mail Marshal from Auckland’s Marshal Software and Scientific Software and Systems’ SecretSweeper, are not. SSS managing director Bill Tonkin acknowledges his product is compliant at present only with version 2.0. “But at no time was [version 3.0 compliance] ever prescribed,” he says. SecretSweeper is definitely interoperable with security solutions that are compliant with version 3.0, and interoperability is the point when using several different products on one network. He confirms that the later version of the product, or rather of a software library that it uses, will be compliant with version 3.0, and this will be released next year. Marshal Software marketing coordinator Adrian Duigan, however, maintains that Mail Marshal is fully compliant with version 3.0

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