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Information Technology: The Bureau of the Census Must Solve ADP Acquisition and Security Problems

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Citation Edit

General Accounting Office, Information Technology: The Bureau of the Census Must Solve ADP Acquisition and Security Problems (AFMD-82-13; B-205133) (Oct. 21, 1981) (full-text).

Overview Edit

The GAO reported on problems in the acquisition and security of automatic data processing (ADP) at the Census Bureau.

The GAO found that the fully competitive computer replacement acquisition is almost two years behind the Bureau's initial projections. The Bureau has presented a new revision of the schedule. However, the GAO believes that without appropriate top management attention, involvement, and priority, this schedule will probably not be met and the acquisition of essential mission resources will be further delayed.

The Bureau must do more to ensure that user applications of the ADP programs are in existing federal standard languages. Currently, two federally adopted standard programming languages are appropriate for use at the Bureau. However, the Bureau has not been enforcing either as a standard language. The longer it takes to implement standard languages, the greater the number of programs that will be written without standardization as an acceptance criterion.

At present, the majority of Bureau user application software remains in nonstandard languages. The Bureau has not performed a risk analysis or developed and implemented a sound security program, contrary to federal regulations. Numerous potential physical security problems exist in the Bureau, and access systems for the Bureau buildings are flawed. There are instances where address lists and confidential data are not being protected adequately. Addresses and other confidential burn material must be kept in a locked area until the material is collected for disposal.

The GAO recommended that the Secretary of Commerce should direct the Department of Commerce and the Census Bureau information resources officials to ensure that a fully competitive OMB Circular No. A-109 acquisition is pursued according to schedule.

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