September 11, 2009 |
No, I am not going to suggest every single web user who is not 100% happy with his or her current web browsing experience to go and create a web browser of their own – after all, even using open source codes not everyone is able to create anything that will actually be working better than what existing leaders in the web browsing industry have to offer.
But if you are a country and you are unhappy with the level of security that the existing web browsers offer – and you bear in mind that those browsers are used in the day-to-day work of your officials and even in the national defense – you certainly will manage to build something that will actually meet your very own specific needs and expectations.
Now rumors are (published in one of the leading IT publications quoting an anonymous source in a government-affiliated company) that this is exactly what Russia is planning to do: building a web browser intended specifically for the country’s authorities. This idea is scheduled to be discussed at a special meeting next Wednesday so hopefully some details will become available after the meeting.
The idea is pretty simple: as the IT experts of the Russian government are not happy with the level of security offered by the existing web browsers (namely Internet Explorer as it is installed on the majority of machines of the government agencies and various national and local institutions), they have suggested to build a web browser that will be intended solely for Russian officials and will be secure enough for them to use it in their work.
No details are available about what technologies and security protocols will be used in the new browser, same as there is no clarity regarding what company will work on developing such a new browser. The only thing that has been confirmed by the press is that the idea actually exists and will be discussed next week.
Of course knowing how corrupted Russian bureaucrats tend to be, it is no wonder that comments about this idea are already full of people discussing how a multi-million budget for the project will be shared between some officials and some affiliated development company that will eventually come up with a simple customization of Mozilla browser that will lack features that are not needed for a typical government official or that add vulnerabilities. Unfortunately I tend to believe these comments because this is how it happens in Russia all the time and the idea of a country developing a whole new browser seems to sound ridiculous to me.
I would not expect this browser to be launched internationally at all as it is designed for a very specific purpose of managing one particular country and is not really intended to compete with existing web browsers – which is good because I would not expect it to be competitive. But anyway the entire paranoia of the Russian authorities over independence from Microsoft and reliance on open-source or domestic products is already growing to look like a little too much to me – it is good to be cautious but this particular move definitely sounds like an extra step that is not very much needed. But I’ll have to wait for the budget for the project to be announced to make my own conclusions here.
Via (in Russian)