April Fool's Day or Hidden News Day
Probably the most difficult time of year for Information Security researcher is around April Fools when things go a little more crazy than usual, especially when Information Security companies get in on the act. The practice of ignoring all news from the week of April 1st is one way of managing the problem, but it can be problematic when there is important information that is released in the same period.
Probably the most significant news item to come from the end of March, but which was discovered on April Fool's day for many, was the news that IBM, one of the largest contracting / servicing companies in the world, has had a temporary ban against obtaining contracts with the US EPA. The reason for the temporary ban is an ongoing investigation regarding potential misconduct between IBM employees and EPA officials during an EPA procurement process.
Based on existing US Federal agreement, all government agencies must follow suit and ban IBM from new federal contracts until the initial ban is lifted.
Although the federal government contract base is a small percentage of IBM's overall income, the message sent through the action of banning new contracts to a major company is a good one for supporters of an open and low-corruption government.
There is a 30 day window for the company to contest the ban, with an option for the EPA to extend the ban up to a year. Making the matter worse for IBM is that existing contracts can not have orders based on existing contracts processed.
3 April 2008
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