Thanks to Dr Penna I learn that every NHS employee can purchase Microsoft Office 2007 for £ 17.00 for use in their own home ...
Dr Penna thinks he is onto a good thing. And Microsoft's NHS website has discounts on other MS products for NHS employees. All you have to have is an NHS email address (oh shurely I can hack that ,,,).
Let us look at this in more detail on the Microsoft-NHS website ...
Microsoft has a Software Licensing Enterprise Agreement with NHS England (with similar but separate agreements with NHS Scotland and NHS Wales). The current agreement runs until 2010 and covers a range of Windows software including the Vista operating system (both Business and Enterprise editions) and a range of Microsoft products including Office. It also includes Client Access Licenses (CAL) to Windows Server and SQL database software but not the server and database software itself.
What does a CAL mean? Well, no desktop workstation will have server or database software installed on it. However, a desktop workstation within the NHS will probably need to access a server for networking and an SQL database server (for Summary Care Records?). To access a server, the desktop workstation needs a CAL. Ok, so Microsoft's licensing model screws you twice ...
But the intimation here is that the NHS is using Windows servers (Microsoft server and database software licenses are sold under a separate agreement entitled the Select Licensing programme - whatever the fuck that is). For the storage of confidential patient data, the Summary Care Record, for NHS Choices “Choose and Book” etc etc.
Why didn't Connecting for Health opt for far more secure Unix servers and Linux desktops? Or even Unix servers with Windows desktops?
Given the government's recent record on the loss of confidential data on Joe and Jane's data, given what I have learned today of Microsoft's involvement, and what I already knew of its appalling security record, my confidence in the development of the NHS Connecting for Health project has lessened x-fold.
1. FAQ: “What is the NHS paying for this agreement?”
Answer: “The NHS is paying a fixed amount per year. The number of devices each year increases to cover an expected growth in the number of users. Microsoft has provided a substantial discount to the NHS based on the volume of devices covered and length of the agreement.”
Does anyone know? Can anyone tell me how to access government contracts or do I have to write a Freedom of Information Act request?
2. Certain Department of Health, but not part of the NHS, institutions are included in the Enterprise Agreement.3. fyi Dr Penna the software does not belong to you. At 65 years old you will be without a word-processor and email client. “... so should they leave the NHS then they are required as per the terms and conditions on the web site to uninstall and return it to their Trust.”