Amazing they’re not still running the Wang terminals…

…that they used to have. (They were ridiculously antiquated even then.) From a “town hall” at the State Department:

MS. GREENBERG: Okay. Our next question comes from Jim Finkle:
Can you please let the staff use an alternative web browser called Firefox? I just – (applause) – I just moved to the State Department from the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency and was surprised that State doesn’t use this browser. It was approved for the entire intelligence community, so I don’t understand why State can’t use it. It’s a much safer program. Thank you. (Applause.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, apparently, there’s a lot of support for this suggestion. (Laughter.) I don’t know the answer. Pat, do you know the answer? (Laughter.)

UNDER SECRETARY KENNEDY: The answer is at the moment, it’s an expense question. We can -

QUESTION: It’s free. (Laughter.)

UNDER SECRETARY KENNEDY: Nothing is free. (Laughter.) It’s a question of the resources to manage multiple systems…

Once again, the IT department’s preference gets in the way of end users. This is not at all atypical of companies, as the Czar and Mandarin can tell you at great length, having once fought within an IT department to serve the company’s aims rather than have the company be subservient to the convenience of the IT folks. And, of course, they can also tell you about all the idiotic stuff people stick on their work computers ultimately rendering them unusable (which turns some IT folks into Nazi control freaks).

But that the U.S. Department of State—which classifies a ton of stuff—is still using an insecure, glitchy browser like IE at this late date? Resources or not, there’s no way they couldn’t have migrated over the past several years when it became clear that IE perennially lags behind Firefox in security, speed, and usability. They stuck with what they had because it was easier. (Or at least that’s my best guess, knowing large organizations.)

Pretty funny discussion, though.

Via Boing Boing.

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