Interior will spend $65 million restoring Internet service

Interior will spend $65 million restoring Internet service

The Interior Department expects to spend $65 million over the next three years to restore Internet service and upgrade security, Interior Secretary Gale Norton said today.

The department’s agencies have been progressively restoring Net service after a court-appointed officer gives his OK and declares systems safe from tampering.

"We have in place a process with the special master,” Alan Balaran, in the case of Cobell v. Norton, the Interior chief said during a briefing about the president’s fiscal 2003 budget proposal. "It allows us to restore Internet service when security programs are in place."

Interior has been struggling to function without Internet service since Judge Royce Lamberth of the U.S. District Court in Washington ordered the department to sever its connections to prevent possible hacking of databases containing records about American Indian trust fund royalties [see story at www.gcn.com/vol1_no1/daily-updates/17636-1.html].

John Tresize, the department's budget director, told GCN after the budget briefing that Interior planned to build a system called Trustnet that would isolate systems storing trust data from other department systems.

"The proposal will be to build a secure network with secure firewalls," Tresize said. He said the department would move aggressively this year to secure the trust data, probably by reprogramming funds originally budgeted for other purposes.

One effort that Interior might cannibalize to pay for Trustnet work this year is the department's already begun effort to integrate trust accounting databases into the Trust Asset Management System.

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