Nextgov reports that the Bureau of Indian Affairs is free to reconnect itself to the Internet, thanks to a Washington D.C. District Court ruling earlier this month.
Interior allowed to reconnect to Internet, by Gautham Nagesh, Nextgov, May 21, 2008.
District Judge James Robertson granted on May 14 motions filed by [Deparment of the] Interior requesting that the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Office of Hearings and Appeals, the Office of the Special Trustee, and the Office of Historical Trust Accounting be allowed to reconnect their networks to the Internet.
The BIA network was ordered to shut down in 2001 amid accusations of poor data security in the ongoing Cobell v. Kempthorne class action case.
Security questions remain, however.
[Judge] Robertson acknowledged that Interior’s IT security may still be inadequate. “The congressional and inspector general reports indicating that the Interior Department, overall, continues to receive failing grades on its IT report card are troubling, but I have no authority to act in response to them, nor do I have any colorable suggestion that the declarations before me … were made in bad faith,” he wrote.
As of this writing, the BIA site has not been fully restored. According to Interior chief information officer Michael Howell, it is expected to take a couple of months for the BIA to reconnect.
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