Google Products Lacked Key Government Certification, DOJ Says
By Dina Bass – Apr 11, 2011
Google Inc. (GOOG)’s Internet-based software applications for government customers don’t have a key security certification, contrary to the company’s claims in a lawsuit over a multimillion-dollar contract, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a December legal filing.
In a filing unsealed on April 8, the Justice Department said it “appears” that Google Apps for Government software doesn’t have Federal Information Security Management Act certification, “notwithstanding Google’s representations to the public at large, its counsel, the GAO (Government Accountability Office) and this court.”
Google sued the U.S. Interior Department in October, arguing that a planned $49.3 million contract to provide e-mail and online-collaboration services lacked sufficient competition and gave favorable treatment to Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), which won the contract. The Justice Department comments were part of a government filing seeking a judgment in favor of the U.S. and dismissal of Mountain View, California-based Google’s complaint.
“We did not mislead the court or our customers,” said David Mihalchik, an executive with the Google Enterprise unit, in an e-mailed statement. “Google Apps received a FISMA security authorization from the General Services Administration in July 2010. Google Apps for Government is the same system with enhanced security controls that go beyond FISMA requirements. As planned we’re working with GSA to continuously update our documentation with these and other additional enhancements.”
The case is being heard by U.S. Court of Federal Claims Judge Susan Braden in Washington. Braden issued an order on Jan. 3 preventing the agency from proceeding with the contracts.
“This case is about the Department of Interior limiting its proposal to one product that isn’t even FISMA certified, so this question is unrelated to our request that DOI allow for a true competition when selecting its technology providers,” Mihalchik said.
The case is Google Inc. v. U.S., 10-743, U.S. Court of Federal Claims (Washington).
Editor’s Note: Read Microsoft Blog Entry on the issue here