MPs upset over Parliament iPad snub

Politicians love their gadgets and several are upset security protocols mean they are not permitted to link their new iPads into the Parliamentary computer network.

MPs are provided with BlackBerry phones (a mobile phone that encrypts data over the network), laptops and desk top computers to help them keep on top of the admin, organisation and communication that is part of their job.

However, the Parliament's information technology system does not permit Apple products, such as iPhones or iPads.

That was because of security concerns and money, Parliamentary Services manager Geoff Thorn said today.

Parliament was looking at how incorporate Apple products and was working with Vodafone to achieve that.

"The issue that we've got is that if you use an iPhone and we hook that directly into the network then we end up with the potential for applications on the iPhones to bring viruses into the network, that's a security issue that I really can't get past," he said.

"It would be dangerous to have any device connected to the network that can have applications on that bring viruses in, that would bring the entire network down."

If more MPs had iPhones it would be more imperative, he said.

"To provide separate servers to support iPhones is a cost that I am simply unable to afford at the moment."

National MP Jacqui Dean wanted to know why she couldn't access her email and electronic diary on her iPad.

A remote access provider was clunky and slow and MPs wanted to be able to access the system directly on Apple products, she said.

"The huge advantage of the iPad is that it is extremely quick and convenient and when you're busy that is extremely advantageous."

National's Nikki Kaye said having one device, instead of several, could eventually save taxpayers money.

Labour MP Chris Hipkins said some staff were forwarding emails to personal Gmail accounts to enable them to access them on iPhones.

Mr Thorn said while that endangered the security of their own information it did not risk the network.

"I'm not going to do anything that releases your information. If you do then that is your concern," he said.

- NZPA

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