Monday, December 15, 2008

Privatizing Your Privacy: EDS' Trail of Slime - Part 2


EDS Canada created EDS Advanced Solutions with corporate headquarters in Victoria, BC. Here’s a bit from their company webpage:

EDS Advanced Solutions Inc. is a subsidiary of EDS Canada, was incorporated in May 2004 and is headquartered in Victoria, British Columbia. The company works closely with EDS Canada and plans to expand EDS Advanced Solutions operations across Canada.

HP-EDS has its’ corporate headquarters in Plano, Texas. In addition to its many industries and good-quality living, Plano has excellent schools that consistently score in the top few percent of the nation, and has been rated as the wealthiest city in the United States by CNN Money.

Ministry of Small Business and Revenue:

Revenue Services of British Columbia Report, 2005-2007, on the operations of EDS Advanced Solutions Inc.

New Provincial Brand for Revenue Collection (Dec 2, 2004)

The Province recently signed an agreement with EDS Advanced Solutions to improve customer service and consolidate revenue management across government, including account management, billing, payment and remittance processing, and non-tax collections for the Province.

The Billing and Receivables Branch and the Collection and Loan Management
Branch of the Ministry of Provincial Revenue formerly provided these functions.

Beginning Dec. 6, 2004, EDS Advanced Solutions is authorized to operate under the brand "Revenue Services of British Columbia" to identify itself when performing revenue services on behalf of the Province of British Columbia.

Ministry of Provincial Revenue. Now known as Ministry of Small Business and Revenue.

Revenue Management Project
2 Dec 2004

Summary Report

In 2004, the Province of British Columbia signed a 10-year Agreement with EDS Advanced Solutions Inc. to work with the Ministry of Small Business and Revenue to build and operate a Centre of Excellence for Revenue Management.

The Revenue Solutions Portfolio includes:

·Tax and non-tax debt recovery/collections
·Contract management of the private-sector service provider
·Business development, working with client ministries to transition their revenue management functions to the Ministry of Small Business and Revenue

Taxpayer Fairness and Service Code

EDS' Track Record

We need to follow the bouncing ball on this one. EDS’ track record involves much more than alleged incompetence and negligence if we examine all of the pieces of the puzzle together. Be very, very afraid and ask yourself, what’s in store for BC and all of our information?

In July 2007, EDS, the UK contract holder lost a hard drive with the personal details of over 5,000 British prison officers working in the Ministry of Justice. They only fessed up to it in September 2008.

Also in July 2007, “The loss of the data on a hard drive of 256 National Offender Management Service staff's personal details … did not come to light until July 2008, which Mr. Straw said was down to the "the inadequacy of EDS's tracking system". (BBC).

In August 2008, the British government announced that their Ministry of Justice “lost” the personal records of 45,000 citizens in the UK.

“The information included dates of birth, national insurance numbers, criminal records, and in a single incident, the loss of bank details and other information belonging to 27,000 people working for suppliers to the department.

In another case, officials lost an “inadequately protected” laptop storing the job applications of 13 people who were applying for judicial positions with the service.”

In January an "inadequately protected" laptop containing records of 14,000 fine defaulters including names, dates of birth, addresses, offences, and - in a fifth of cases - national insurance numbers, went missing from a "secured" government office.

In June 2007 records of 27,000 people working for suppliers to the Ministry of Justice, again kept on “inadequately protected” storage devices, were lost.

Two other laptops and several other storage devices were mislaid in 2007, leading to the loss of names, dates of birth and national insurance numbers of 145 court appellants, and the names of 138 criminals and the offences committed by them.” (Times Online).

On October 11th 2008, a scant three months ago, EDS “lost” a hard drive with the personnel data of over 100,000 armed-forces workers in the Ministry of Defence.

“The hard drive was being held by EDS, the Ministry of Defence's main IT contractor. It contains the names, addresses, passport numbers, dates of birth and driving licence details of those serving in the army, navy and RAF. It also includes next-of-kin details, as well as information on 600,000 potential services applicants and the names of referees. Officials said it may also include some bank account details.” (BBC)

HP-EDS is also alleged to have mishandled their contract with UK Revenue and Customs for tax credits. If this doesn’t give you chills, I don’t know what will.

“The personal details of virtually every child in the UK has been lost by HM Revenue and Customs, the chancellor, Alistair Darling, admitted today. The missing information includes the names, addresses and dates-of-birth of the children and the national insurance numbers, and in some cases the bank details, of parents claiming child benefits. More than 25 million individuals are affected… two discs containing details of the 7.25 million families claiming child benefit, sent to the National Audit Office, failed to reach the addressee…”

EDS ended up having to pay more than $129 million CAD (in pounds) to the British government in legal settlements.

An additional HP-EDS contract to introduce a national ID card in the UK had to be halted due to concerns about EDS cost overruns and breaches of privacy (good).

EDS has been investigated at least twice for its’ business activities by the US Security and Exchange Commission related to their US Navy contract.

“That contract has ended up costing EDS hundreds of millions of dollars. So far, the Navy deal has yet to produce revenue or
profits, according to the Financial Times. Last year the commission
launched a probe of EDS's hedging activities,
which reportedly
produced large losses and sent the company's share price tumbling in September.

This go-round, EDS management reportedly warned of sharply lower profits
and revenue due, in part, to the problems with the Navy contract.”

Frank Hayes of Computer World on the HP-EDS acquisition

"It's a terrible time for HP to buy EDS's big-custom-technology-project business. Big custom technology projects fail a lot, and EDS's record is no exception to that. At a time when packaged software and agile development are the way the corporate IT world is going, EDS's software development side is a dinosaur in a tar pit."

Before any contracts are signed here in BC we should have a really clear understanding of all of the corporate and transnational linkages that are entailed here, since HP-EDS is also linked to IBM, Microsoft and who knows who and what else through other corporate partnerships we have no idea about. We should have a full understanding of that as it may have implications for the integrity of our information and privacy as citizens of BC and Canada.

See a thorough list of all of the privacy breaches in the UK, many associated with EDS contracts, which revert to the new “global” corporate entity: HP-EDS through successorship of contracts. When BC signs on the dotted line with one corporation, if they’re bought out, the contract goes to the buying company and taxpayers have no control over what happens after that and often very little knowledge about it too.

We’ve already seen this kind of thing in BC, with the privatization and outsourcing of employment programs for income assistance recipients, to WCG International, based in Victoria (BC Liberal insider Ian Ferguson) then the sale of WCG to Providence Service Corporation of Tucson Arizona.

Previous cases of missing data
There have been a variety of cases where confidential information has been lost or stolen.

BBC News UK.

What does the HP-EDS deal really mean?
InfoWorld | News | 2008 ...

At $13 billion, Hewlett-Packard's purchase of EDS is a big deal, but its impact goes far beyond the cost as it will have serious ramifications for the IT services industry.

What EDS is telling its people about HP deal
By Paul McNamara on Tue, 05/13/2008

Check out the comments for industry grapevine about what's
happening inside EDS since the take over.

Government computer jobs are axed
BBC News, UK.

“It comes after EDS, which had contracts with departments including Work
and Pensions and Defence, was taken over by Hewlett Packard last month.

HP had warned that the takeover would mean 24,000 jobs would go
and have confirmed 3,378 will be in the UK.”

Will It Float? SEC Probing EDS's Navy Contract, Jennifer Caplan. May 19, 2003.

The Securities and Exchange Commission has launched a second investigation into business activities at EDS, the Texas-based IT-outsourcing provider. In a regulatory filing, EDS management said the SEC has requested information related to the company's technology-outsourcing contract with the U.S. Navy, a deal worth a whopping $7 billion.

That contract has ended up costing EDS hundreds of millions of dollars. So far, the Navy deal has yet to produce revenue or profits, according to the Financial Times.

EDS gets $3 billion U.S. Navy contract extension
Network World.

Private data on armed forces goes missing
Matthew Taylor. The Guardian, Saturday October 11 2008.

Next installment: Part 3 -
Why should You care about BC signing this contract?

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