Headlines, PublicNet: 22 April, 1998

A private intranet for government offices throughout the UK has been launched by Public Service Minister Dr David Clark. Although only a limited number of people currently have access, it is expected that all major departments will be connected by the end of the year. At the end of the three year connection programme some 400,000 people will be able to talk to each other electronically.The network, which is known as the ‘Government Secure Intranet’ or GSI provides an e-mail facility with connections both to other people using the GSI and to the outside world. It also provides access to the Internet. The security features of the system have been tested by the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ). Although the security is complex and effective, it does not cramp the style of network users. For example, the sender of an e-mail within a government office receives a security warning screen which must be completed with a password before transmission is allowed. The input of the password sets up an audit trail so that senders of messages can be traced.

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