It’s sometimes difficult to gauge what is, and isn’t appropriate for Kassandra. Our measuring stick, cannot always be an objective look at stories. It is sometime the feedback we get from spokespersons and press teams that tips the scale. Some might remember our stories on the WIFI4EU scandal. The programme, offered free money to build internet services infrastructure to municipalities. The applications were submitted to a website on a first-come-first-served basis.
It took an external source to alert the Commission on two vulnerabilities of the system, risking both unauthorised access to personal data just some days before the GDPR came into effect, and a second that allowed the Municipalities to alter the call entry time depending on the local time of the computer used to file the project application. The WiFi4EU Portal was therefore shut down approximately 4 hours after its opening and the call is therefore currently de facto suspended.
That was the first call for project, and it resulted in the European Commission having to assign 9 of its own people to a project it had theoretically outsourced. The second call went just fine indeed.
Kassandra has learned that the company involved with running the WIFI4EU, is bidding for a major software development contract of the European Parliament.
This is of course normal. Companies are entitled to bid for tenders, and of course, even the biggest companies in the world make mistakes. It’s part of life. We live, we learn.
But are the services in the European Parliament aware of the blunder of WIFI4EU? It is public information after all, and in a project concerning software development safeguarding data is critical.
The Parliament told Kassandra that regarding the issues the European Commission has faced (WIFI4EU), they would not comment, and “do not know what the issue is there.”
Responding to questions by email, a spokesperson of the European Parliament told New Europe that references are required given by other clients. This of course suggests that the European Commission may be asked for a reference when it comes to assessing this company’s bid – but the first statement denying knowledge of the issue suggests they have not.
The spokesperson continued to say that (as is standard procedure), “… proof must be given that the company has the capacity and ability to perform the task being tendered. In the contract itself, there are clauses which require corrections if something doesn’t go according to the contract and there are even penalties possible.” Most interesting, was the last sentence in the response, which given our recent experience with digging up information on other tenders recently, may suggest the company has already won:
“Please note that depending on its significance, one single error once made doesn’t necessarily exclude a company from tendering.”