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Departmental Internet

Volume 475: debated on Friday 16 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 23 April 2008, Official Report, column 1924W, on the departmental internet, from which networks write access to Wikipedia has been blocked; when the decision to block them was made; for what reasons it was made; and if he will place in the Library his Department’s documentation of the decision. (202379)

We have blocked write access to Wikipedia via the MOD Enterprise Gateway Service (EGS). This covers MOD’s basic level (Restricted/Unclassified) Wide Area Network, servicing the vast majority of MOD’s office-based IT systems.

A number of minor systems can access the internet directly; these are either older systems, or those under local control which have specific business requirements which make them unsuitable for connection to the main Wide Area Network. Such systems will not be blocked from accessing Wikipedia.

More highly protected networks have never had internet access, and so cannot access Wikipedia.

The decision to block write access to Wikipedia via the EGS was taken on 30 November 2007 by staff of the Director General Information (DGInfo) and the Joint Security Co-ordination Centre (JSyCC). There was no compelling business reason to have the facility to update Wikipedia.

An exchange of emails at desk level documented the decision, and the method to be followed. I am withholding these e-mails as in order to safeguard national security, this information is not placed in the public domain.