Labour says police use of XP poor planning

Nearly 10,000 police computers were running Microsoft's Windows XP operating system when mainstream support was axed last month, Police Minister Anne Tolley has confirmed.

Labour information technology spokeswoman Clare Curran said the $455,100 police had to spend buying extended support from Microsoft for the 9400 computers was a waste and she believed the situation might be mirrored in other parts of the public sector.

"Allowing nearly 10,000 computer terminals to remain on Windows XP past April 8, 2014, represents a colossal failure in planning, since Microsoft first announced it was going to phase out support for Windows XP back in 2007," she said.

A police spokesman said it expected to finish migrating computers to Windows 8.1 later this year.

"Police systems and data will not face additional risks and we continue to operate as normal over the upgrade period," he said.

ACC Minister Judith Collins said ACC had 2000 computers running XP when mainstream support for the operating system ended but it was now "60 per cent of the way" through upgrading them to Windows 7.

The upgrade would be completed by the end of June but it would still have 730 computers running XP at the end of May, she said. ACC had paid Microsoft a "confidential sum" for extended support.

Curran said it appeared the Ministry of Defence would also still operate some XP computers until July and she believed reliance on XP had caused problems in the health and education ministries.

An industry source confirmed the use of XP by government agencies was still widespread but said all agencies that still used it were taking action.

All had either bought extended support from Microsoft, were negotiating it, or had work in train to upgrade to more modern operating systems, he said.

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Curran said she was concerned about the security implications of outdated software and the XP issue demonstrated the value of Labour's policy of encouraging the use of open-source software.

"What this exposes is a flaw in ICT planning across government," she said.

 - Stuff


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