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Google Apps Loses L.A. Law Enforcement Deal

Security concerns mean Los Angeles Police Department and other law enforcement agencies won't move to Google's cloud-based e-mail suite.

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Google's deal with the city of Los Angeles to provide Google Apps for an e-mail migration project has hit a snag, with the city council voting to limit the contract due to security concerns.

As a result, the city will not move the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) and other law enforcement agencies to Google Apps as planned, L.A. city council spokesperson Jessica Tarman Nassour confirmed Thursday.

Specifically, the council voted to amend the agreement that Google and Computer Sciences Corp (CSC), the systems integrator on the project, have with the city. The amendment will remove the LAPD, portions of the city attorney's office, the Los Angeles Fire Department, Department of General Services, and Department of Transportation from the contract, which concludes in November 2012.

[ Law enforcement agencies are responding to online crime. Read California Forms Cyber Crime Unit. ]

The amendment also requires Google to maintain the reduced rate it offered the city for the originally planned number of users--30,000--even though there are now only 17,000 users of the system, according to Nassour.

Moreover, CSC will issue a credit for any payments that may have been made for users who have not been able to migrate to Google, and not seek reimbursement of a $250,000 advance intended for the city to encourage other government users to adopt Google, she said.

The change also requires the systems integrator to pay L.A. for the costs of using Novell GroupWise--the suite Google Apps is replacing--during the terms of the Google contract. Google also has an obligation to pay for GroupWise that will be capped at $350,000 a year, which is 60% more than current levels, Nassour said.

Two years ago Google bested Microsoft for a $7.25 million contract to move 30,000 city workers to Google Apps, a win for Google in the two tech giants' battle to woo government customers with cloud-based email and productivity suites.

The project appeared to be going well last September, when Google said that 36 out of 40 city departments had been migrated to Google Apps, with only the city's public-safety workers, mainly the LAPD, remaining to be moved.

But the project ran into some problems due to concerns over the suite's failure to meet security requirements mandated by the city's Criminal Justice Information Systems (CJIS) regulations, which spurred the contract amendment the city council passed.

The amendment passed by the council was revealed in August in a letter released by consumer advocacy group Consumer Watchdog. The letter (PDF) was sent from the office of L.A. mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to CSC and included an early version of the proposed amendment.

How 10 federal agencies are tapping the power of cloud computing--without compromising security. Also in the new, all-digital InformationWeek Government supplement: To judge the success of the OMB's IT reform efforts, we need concrete numbers on cost savings and returns. Download our Cloud In Action issue of InformationWeek Government now. (Free registration required.)

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User Rank: Apprentice
12/16/2011 | 4:18:31 PM
re: Google Apps Loses L.A. Law Enforcement Deal
From a strictly-security perspective, it is interesting to see customers imposing their own requirements on vendors in the cloud. I think we'll see more of this going ahead.
Brian Prince, InformationWeek/Dark Reading Comment Moderator
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