Friday, 05 March 2021 10:25

Data centre competitors paid ASPI for report on main rival: AFR

Data centre competitors paid ASPI for report on main rival: AFR Pixabay

The defence industry lobby group, Australian Strategic Policy Institute — which styles itself as an independent, non-partisan think-tank — issued a report critical of on Canberra Data Centres domination of the local government market for a lobby group that was paid by three of CDC's competitors, a report in the Australian Financial Review says.

ASPI was paid $28,600 for a report titled "Devolved data centre decisions?" in which it argued that awarding data storage contracts should be more evenly spread out, with a finding that CDC had been awarded nearly four-fifths of government contracts.

The defence industry lobby group was paid by the lobby firm Australian Public Affairs which commissioned the report. The APA had as a client the Smart Data Alliance, a group comprising Macquarie Telecom Group, NextDC and Australian Data Centres.

But the defence lobby group made no mention of the funding, only thanking APA for its support, without which it said the report would not have been possible.

CDC was not named in the report either but AFR journo Tom Burton identified the firm from public data which showed it had gained $620 million of the existing $779 million data centre contracts taken out by the Federal Government.

The AFR said the Alliance was created after a report in its columns in March last year which suggested that about 90% of government data was stored by CDC.

Included in the ASPI report were observations like this: "While 15 companies are represented on the [Digital Transformation Agency's Data Centre Facilities Supplies] panel, there’s been an unexpected concentration of government procurement over its 10-year life."

Another one was this: "The fragmentation and continued devolution of government procurement and responsibility for cyber security and physical security have created an unnecessary vulnerability for government data, which is increasingly being managed in outsourced data centres. There’s a lack of oversight and management of government data security on the whole-of-government level."

And a third read: "The current panel arrangement is transferring whole-of-government risk to agencies despite some not having adequate knowledge, budget or expertise to manage these risks. The focus on individual agency risk means that agencies will choose convenient options regardless of any compound risk that may be occurring across government. This is a blind and dangerous outcome."

ASPI is funded by the Australian Government and also a huge array of defence and technology companies from around the world.

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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