Immigration Department confirms IBM will miss IT merger deadline amid security concerns

Updated October 18, 2016 07:43:25 The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) has tried to downplay reports its rollout of a new £500 million computer system could lead to security breaches, and claimed its deadline for completion was always up for review. Last month, the ABC reported serious concerns had been raised about technology giant IBM’s ability to meet the demands of merging the Customs and Immigration computer systems[1].

Before Customs and Immigration merged in 2015, two companies had been delivering IT services — IBM for Customs; and CSC, another US information technology giant, for Immigration. The ABC had been told by those familiar with the project that IBM was increasingly unlikely to hit an October 31 completion deadline, and any system failure could compromise national security checks, including red-flagging terror suspects attempting to enter or leave the country. Three weeks ago, the department had issued a statement to the ABC that stated the “schedule remains under active review”.

“This is common to all major system changes in which the protection of operational capability and security protections remains the overarching priority,” the statement said.

Deadline ‘was never going to be exact’

Now, the department’s Deputy Secretary Maria Fernandez has told a Senate committee the revised deadline for completion was early December, but said the revision was not as a result of the ABC report. “That report was not accurate,” the department’s Maria Fernandez told a Senate committee. “It is a complex transition, it takes critical border systems from CSC mainframe’s onto IBM, it will take almost a year to undertake the migration.

“It is 17 years of data and very complex systems, and so it is a schedule that we review constantly, and it was never going to be exact.” CSC’s contract had since been extended through until January 2017. DIBP Secretary Mike Pezzullo said nothing would be done to jeopardise the security of the computer system, and its role in managing Australia’s border.

“One of the factors [the team managing the rollout] have regard to is that there’s no breach of the integrity of our border systems,” Mr Pezzullo said.

“If there were to be by premature migration, switching over of data from one mainframe to another, if there were to be a risk the Commissioner [Roman Quaedvlieg] and I would have a very, very, very low threshold of risk appetite of any potential breach of our border.”

Topics: immigration, government-and-politics, federal-government, science-and-technology, australia[2][3][4][5][6]

First posted October 18, 2016 06:59:44

References

  1. ^ technology giant IBM’s ability to meet the demands of merging the Customs and Immigration computer systems (www.abc.net.au)
  2. ^ immigration (www.abc.net.au)
  3. ^ government-and-politics (www.abc.net.au)
  4. ^ federal-government (www.abc.net.au)
  5. ^ science-and-technology (www.abc.net.au)
  6. ^ australia (www.abc.net.au)

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *