Apple iPhone and iPad devices running the iOS operating system may soon become officially certified by the Defence Signals Directorate (DSD) to connect to the secure Wi-Fi networks operated by the Federal Government, ZDNet Australia has learned.
John Sheridan, first assistant secretary of AGIMO, responded to questions from a Senate Estimates committee this week, informing senators that the DSD hadn't yet certified Apple's mobile operating system for use with private wireless networks that handle material of national security.
The DSD told ZDNet Australia, however, that it is working with Apple to certify the iOS operating system for use on the secure Wi-Fi network operated by the Department of Parliamentary Services.
"DSD is working closely with Apple to meet future requirements. This work includes moving to enable Australian government to use iOS products in a secure manner," the DSD said.
Apple Australia's corporate communications manager, Fiona Martin, confirmed the working relationship, saying that the iOS platform contains protocols that meet the DSD's specifications for security.
"Apple takes product security very seriously. Both the iPhone and iPad incorporate DSD-approved cryptographic algorithms and DSD-approved cryptographic protocols and we continue to work closely with DSD to meet future requirements," Martin said.
Once the DSD has certified Apple's mobile operating system, the Department of Parliamentary Services will still need to identify how the devices would be deployed.
"It will be up to the [Department of Parliamentary Services] once certification occurs to see how [iOS devices] can be implemented," Sheridan told Senate Estimates.
The certification of the iOS operating system would give other agencies the opportunity to deploy devices and trials of iPhones and iPads for their personnel.
Greg Farr, chief information officer for the Defence Force, told ZDNet Australia last year that Defence employees wanting to use their iPhones, for example, would have to wait until the operating system was certified by the DSD.