Court orders Interior to disconnect systems from the Internet again

    Date17 Mar 2004
    CategoryGovernment
    3594
    Posted ByAnthony Pell
    There has been a lot of talk of late about how the Federal Government is going to step in and make us all conform to computer security standards as a matter of law. Yet, it is hard to escape the creeping feeling that this same Federal Government has very little understanding of computer security. If CERT is the Federal idea of a central security clearinghouse, then the security community already largely sees it as a humorless joke. But perhaps even more frightening is how incompetant they are at securing their own networks. Perhaps its comes from the fact that their own money isn't involved -- but Federal legislation will have the same problem. . . . The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia late yesterday ordered the Interior Department to sever Internet connections at nine agencies, again finding fault with the department's systems security.

    Judge Royce C. Lamberth included this latest disconnection mandate in a preliminary injunction order in the case of Cobell v. Norton. The decision followed a determination in a linked opinion Lamberth issued yesterday that concluded Interior's system security upgrades, procedures and plans fail to protect American Indian trust data.

    Interior spokesman Dan Dubray said late yesterday that department officials still must review the court's latest order and have no comment yet. Meanwhile, senior Interior officials were at a hearing yesterday afternoon at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit attempting to get Lamberth removed from the case, arguing he is biased, Dubray said.

    Lamberth barred Interior from reconnecting any systems still down since the court's December 2001 order shuttering virtually all Interior Internet links (Click for GCN story). He also specifically ordered Interior to immediately disconnect Net links for systems at:

    # Bureau of Indian Affairs


    # Bureau of Land Management


    # Bureau of Reclamation


    # Fish and Wildlife Service


    # Minerals Management Service


    # National Business Center


    # Office of the Inspector General


    # Office of the Special Trustee


    # Office of Surface Mining.

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