MI5 abandons digital records management system at cost of GBP 90 million


System was intended to modernise and enhance the Service’s information management capability

MI5 has abandoned its digital records management IT system at a cost of GBP 90 million to the taxpayer, reports publictechnology.net. The system was expected to be ready in time for the 2012 Olympics in order to centralise data centres and help manage the increased terrorism threat, but trials of the system have recently been called off by Sir Jonathan Evans, the recently departed head of the agency. Consultants from Deloitte were brought in to help trial the system, including software to aggregate paper archives with digital technology, but it was eventually decided that system failures would leave British spies at risk. MI5 is now left with its old system, despite concerns that it is not suitable to deal with new global security threats.

A Security Committee report in 2011 announced that the project was to be held off until after the Games: “The Security Service’s new electronic information management system is intended to modernise and enhance the Service’s information management capability and provide a greater level of information assurance and mitigate the risks of intelligence failure and information loss. The Director General told the Committee in evidence that the project ‘is in some difficulties’. We have subsequently been told that ‘given the clear priority of ensuring the stability of our IT systems ahead of the Olympics’ the Service had taken the decision to delay the ‘go-live’… until after the 2012 Olympics.”

A spokeswoman for the Home Office told The Independent ‘we don’t recognise the GBP 90 million figure,’ but there has been no further information on the project.

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