Print 9 comment(s) - last by Solandri.. on Apr 15 at 12:44 PM

David McClure of the GSA  (Source:
Both the Department of Justice and General Services Administration have agreed with Microsoft's accusation that Google is lying about having FISMA certified government software

Earlier this week, Microsoft called Google a liar because the search engine giant told the government that its software suite for government employees was FISMA certified. Now, Google is doing what it can to convince the Department of Justice that it is certified, but it isn't looking good. 

The conflict between Microsoft and Google stems back to an incident where Microsoft had been selected to create a cloud-based e-mail system for the Department of Interior, and Google sued the government saying that it favored Microsoft.

Now, Google has developed software for government employees called Google Apps for Government. Some government software requires certification under the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA), which is certified by the General Services Administration (GSA). Microsoft called Google a liar when it claimed to have certified the Google Apps for Government suite, and as it turns out, Microsoft was right. Last week, documents of the legal proceedings were released, and the Department of Justice confirmed that Google, in fact, did not have FISMA certification on the software. Instead, it certified a different software suite called Google Apps Premier. 

Google disagreed with the Department of Justice, saying that its Apps for Government is a subset of Apps Premier, hence the company thought that Apps for Government was taken care of through that same certification. 

The GSA did not seem to believe Google, though. A hearing earlier this week confirmed the GSA's testimony when U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.) interviewed David McClure from the GSA.

"Sure, I'd be glad to bring some clarity to it," said McClure. "In July 2010, GSA did a FISMA security accreditation for 'Google Apps Premier.' That's what the Google product was called, and it passed our FISMA accreditation process. We actually did that so other agencies could use the Google product. If we do one accreditation, it's leveraged across many agencies. Since that time, Google has introduced what they're calling 'Google Apps for Government.' It's a subset of Google Apps Premier, and as soon as we found out about that, as with all other agencies, we have what you would normally do when a product changes, you re-certify it. So that's what we're doing right now, we're actually going through a re-certification based on those changes that Google has announced with the 'Apps for Government' product offering."

Despite the Department of Justice and the GSA's lack of support for Google's claims, Carper will continue to follow-up with GSA offices regarding the matter until it is resolved. 

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Just check the records GSA!.
By fteoath64 on 4/15/2011 2:42:57 AM , Rating: 2
If Google Apps Premier has the Apps for Government as a subset function or application at the time of certification then Google is right. It is that simple. If Google added Apps for Government AFTER the certification, then it needs re-certification, then MS is right. It is such a simple matter ...

RE: Just check the records GSA!.
By SpyderManP on 4/15/2011 4:21:30 AM , Rating: 3
It isnt that simple, if you know how the things in the government work. If a product has a different name, then it is something different and needs to be recertified, even if it was a subset of another product.

RE: Just check the records GSA!.
By Solandri on 4/15/2011 12:44:27 PM , Rating: 3
Funny story about that. When Lockheed made their first commercial jet airliner, the L1011, they had to submit a bevy of paperwork to the FAA to have it certified as airworthy. Someone filled in the "model name" field with the production run number given to the first plane - L-1011-385-1.

Consequently, the FAA certified the plane as the L-1011-385-1. When Lockheed noticed the error and tried to get it fixed to just L-1011, the FAA adamantly refused to do it. If Lockheed wanted to fix the name, they would have to abandon the current application and resubmit it from scratch as L-1011.

So Lockheed just stuck with L-1011-385-1. The next variant of the plane became L-1011-385-1-15.

RE: Just check the records GSA!.
By Smilin on 4/15/2011 8:55:51 AM , Rating: 3
Yeah! We should just take Googles word for it that nothing has changed and not bother to reevaluate. It's only national security..pfft.

That's not how it works.

Google is just a plain dumb4ss here. The certification will go relatively quickly and they should have just waited before going out and making a claim that was true in spirit but legally incorrect. It was an amateur blunder and with Microsofts experience in the govt/enterprise world you know good and well they are going to bust you on it. dumb dumb dumb.

RE: Just check the records GSA!.
By the goat on 4/15/2011 9:13:56 AM , Rating: 3
If Google added Apps for Government AFTER the certification, then it needs re-certification, then MS is right.

The Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) defines the procedure for recertification of an updated product that has already passed FISMA certification. Guess what, FISMA says the product continues to be classified as certified while the recertification takes place.

If you can handle an unbiased presentation of this discussion visit Groklaw. . .

RE: Just check the records GSA!.
By karielash on 4/15/11, Rating: 0
RE: Just check the records GSA!.
By Smilin on 4/15/2011 12:20:41 PM , Rating: 2
If you can handle an unbiased presentation of this discussion visit Groklaw

While it has a lot of links and evidence that is unbiased the article as a whole is about as biased and opinionated as it gets.

Right near the top..
That's the amazing part. If it wanted to reduce the risk of data security breaches, why would it choose Microsoft?

..and it just gets worse from there.

Informative though, thanks! +1

"I'd be pissed too, but you didn't have to go all Minority Report on his ass!" -- Jon Stewart on police raiding Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's home
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