Brazilian government to ditch Microsoft in favour of bespoke email system

Brazilian government to ditch Microsoft in favour of bespoke email system

Summary: President Dilma Rousseff requested the deployment of the in-house communications platform across all federal government bodies

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TOPICS: Privacy, Government
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Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff announced yesterday (13) her request to deploy a secure electronic communications system aimed at strengthening privacy and avoiding spying of communications across federal government bodies.

"I have mandated the deployment of a secure email system throughout the federal government," the president tweeted. She added that this is "the first step to expand privacy and inviolability of official messages."

The Brazilian data processing body Serpro is responsible for decommissioning the current platform Microsoft Outlook and leading the development of the new platform, which has been procured following the news that communications between Rousseff and her key aides have been monitored by the US National Secutity Agency (NSA).

"A more secure messaging system is needed to prevent possible spying," Rousseff posted on Twitter.

Expresso, an encrypted communications suite, is already used by about 700,000 employees at a few government bodies. The bespoke system runs on the cloud platform maintained by Serpro and the intention is to make it more robust then roll it out across the entire federal administration departments.

The Expresso platform will also be used as the base of the Hotmail-like system that the government is also planning to offer to citizens.

According to the Communications minister, Paulo Bernardo, it is expected that all government bodies will swap the current email system by the new set-up by the second half of 2014.

Bernardo told newspaper Folha de São Paulo that the government has already told Microsoft that it will not renew its licensing agreement and that it will reinvest the savings in improving the in-house system.

As well as the changes in the email set-up, the Brazilian government is also planning to work with public telecommunications company Telebras on a future project that would allow the government to only use its own infrastructure for its communications.

Topics: Privacy, Government

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49 comments
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  • HAHAHAHA they're going to waste millions and end up with a system the NSA

    can monitor just as easily before it's even adopted.
    Johnny Vegas
    • You mean

      The millions they will save from Microsoft "right to use" -- that they will invest in the work of their own Brazilian staff? And build a system, that the NSA might be able to monitor, or might not.
      danbi
      • No one said they were going to save millions.

        Chances are it'll cost more.
        William.Farrel
        • Still might be worth it

          Savings from not paying MS would be part of the calculation; but it appears that President Rousseff's primary concern is security, not cost. For better or worse, it makes perfect sense for governments to be wary of foreign corporations that might be legally required to provide data to their own countries' intelligence services.
          John L. Ries
        • Re: No one said they were going to save millions.

          nobody, but the article says this

          "Bernardo told newspaper Folha de São Paulo that the government has already told Microsoft that it will not renew its licensing agreement and that it will reinvest the savings in improving the in-house system."

          Now, if you save say 10 million and invest another 10 million -- you will have 20 million that your will pay your own citizens -- and those money will stay in your own country, not exported to some offshore account. This investment will also increase their national capabilities. Win, any day.

          Wish more governments were thinking this way.
          danbi
        • Yet that is the likely outcome

          from making the switch.
          InformationRetrieval
        • National security is the first priority

          Cost is irrelevant. How much is the world paying for TSA agents in every airport?! Brazil is also not the only country which the United States spy's on. Every country should have their own secure email system and should not have to depend on an email system from another country. Remember friendly nations become enemies over time. This happened with the U.S. and Iran. An Open Source community of hackers from around the world could code us a secure email system and make that available to all nations for free and being open source, the nations security team inspect the every line of code, twice, before compiling it. They do need to make sure that the compiler is open source too and the ancestry of the compiler matters too. There is a famous 1983 ACM Turing award in which Den Thompson describes a trick where malicious code can be compiled into a compiler permanently. Even if the malicious code is removed from the compiler recompiled because now that it was removed from the source, no one can know that it is in there unless they inspect the machine code and it's like good luck with that.
          Tim Jordan
          • Here Ken describes that trick

            He also shows example code. http://cm.bell-labs.com/who/ken/trust.html
            Tim Jordan
    • very good, FOSS wins!

      now they should start using gmail!
      The Linux Geek
      • Re: now they should start using gmail!

        That would be even more stupid.

        Which is why it won't happen.
        danbi
      • Hello? The problem they have is a US company

        hosting their email, which means NSA can easily get permission to view it. This alleviates the problem by bringing the email "in-house" as in, in country, thereby reducing the NSAs access to it, as well as keeping the money within the country.

        This is good for them; has little to do with FOSS, other than a starting point.

        By the way, using gmail is not using FOSS and has the same NSA problems. Google is less of an open source contributor than Microsoft.
        grayknight
  • One can only wonder

    How much longer will Dilma remain in power. Let's hope, long enough.
    danbi
    • Fortunately...

      Brazil hasn't had a coup d'etat since the 1960s and the military appears to now be out of politics. And even if there was a risk of a coup, no sane general is going to launch one over e-mail.
      John L. Ries
      • I am more worried about externally encouraged... incident

        We know, these things happen. No need for leaks.
        danbi
        • Like I said...

          ...no sane general is going to launch a coup d'etat over e-mail; even if Bill Gates asks "pretty please". Nor do I think it likely that the U.S. administration would engineer such a thing, given post-Cold War precedent (the easiest way to make yourself persona non grata to the U.S. government nowadays is to launch a coup against a freely elected government).
          John L. Ries
          • Why general ?

            She might end up accidentally poisoned by polonium 210.
            marchel@...
          • 'Twas a PR disaster...

            ...for Vladimir Putin. I wonder if he thinks it was worth it (or if he sacked the genius who dreamed it up).
            John L. Ries
    • Why would you care?

      Oh, I see. Because she isn't using MS.

      Though you know nothing of her, you'll support her on that alone.

      let's hope she's not involved in really evil things behind the sceens...
      William.Farrel
      • Not any of our call

        The President of Brazil is responsible solely to her own constituents and should be.
        John L. Ries
      • Re: Why would you care?

        You would be surprised to know why. :-)

        (but I am not telling)

        Nothing to do with your beloved Microsoft. Don't worry.
        danbi