IBM bungles expensive IT project for UK intelligence

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The British government has scrapped a major intelligence-related network development project due to substandard security standards and several missed deadlines by International Business Machines (IBM). The company, which is the leading contractor in the project, has been blamed for its failure and will probably be taken to court by the government, which is eager to recover £24.4 million ($38,8 million) in research costs. Relatively little is known about the project itself, codenamed SCOPE, which the British government initiated in 2003 with the aim of facilitating increased cross-department collaboration between as many as ten government departments with security or intelligence components. But the IT conglomerate allegedly defrauded the UK taxpayer of millions of pounds while failing to meet a series of “key contractual milestones”, according to the government. Earlier this year, Britain’s Intelligence and Security Committee, a group of parliamentarians that oversee the work of the country’s intelligence services, said it was “appalled” by the inefficiencies of IBM’s work on SCOPE and announced an official inquiry, which is still looking into the scandal. Reportedly, the British government is already working on naming a replacement contractor, and is preparing to challenge IBM’s performance in court.

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Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

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