Google Apps Hasn’t Met LAPD’s Security Requirements, City Demands Refund

Thu, Oct 20, 2011 at 10:03 am

    Two years after the City of Los Angeles approved a $7.25 million deal to move its e-mail and productivity infrastructure to Google Apps, the migration has still not been completed because the Los Angeles Police Department and other agencies are unsatisfied with Google’s security related to the handling of criminal history data.

    Los Angeles officials originally expected to roll Google Apps out to its

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    30,000 users by June 2010, in partnership with systems integration contractor CSC. But that number has been reduced to about 17,000 employees, largely because of security objections raised by the LAPD and other safety-related departments. Advocacy group Consumer Watchdog opposed the deal, and this week released a letter LA officials sent to CSC in August, which states “The City is in receipt of your letter dated May 13, 2011, wherein CSC indicates that it is unable to meet the security requirements of the City and the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) for all data and information, pursuant to U.S. DOJ Criminal Justice Information Systems (CJIS) policy requirements.”

    The letter further demands a financial credit for the LAPD portion of the contract, and that CSC and Google reimburse Los Angeles for the money it has had to pay Novell for a GroupWise system. A proposed amendment to the LA/Google contract says that “Google shall pay the City for the GroupWise System Costs for the period of July 1, 2011 through November 20, 2012.” Los Angeles’s original plan was to move everyone off GroupWise and other internal software and instead use Gmail, Google Docs, and related Google services.

    Beyond the LAPD, the proposed amendment also demands a refund for the Fire Department Arson Investigators, City Attorney Criminal Branch, and several other “City entities that access criminal history data.” Further credits are also demanded because “e-Discovery will not be implemented.” While the exact nature of Google’s security shortcomings are unclear, Google boasts that

    Google Apps has received certification under the Federal Information Security Management Act.

    Both CSC and Google released statements this week. According to Network World, CSC said it has “successfully migrated all of the City of Los Angeles’s employees, except those with the City law enforcement agencies, to the new Google Apps cloud computing solution,” and “subsequent to the award of the original contract, the City identified significant new security requirements for the Police Department. CSC and Google worked closely with the City to evaluate and eventually implement the additional data security requirements, which are related to criminal justice services information, and we’re still working together on one final security requirement.”

    Google, meanwhile, called out Consumer Watchdog for working with Google competitors, presumably Microsoft, and said “the City recently renewed their

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    Google Apps contract for 17,000 employees, and the project is expected to save Los Angeles taxpayers millions of dollars. … The City has acknowledged Google Apps is more secure than its current system. Along the way, they’ve introduced new requirements which require work to implement in a cloud-computing environment, and we’ve presented a plan to meet them at no additional cost.”

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