Alert over “risk of collapse” of tax authority portal

Alert over “risk of collapse” of tax authority portal

As judicial portal CITIUS remains “slow and missing at least half-a-million cases”, Portugal’s leading IT boss has warned that the next online government system heading to crash is that of the Finanças (tax authority).
José Tribolet, president of INESC (the national institute of computer engineering), is the expert who recently branded technicians in charge of CITIUS as “illiterates who have no idea what they are dealing with”.
On SIC TV news last night, he went further – revealing that none of the government’s IT systems are “prepared to respond to the repeated changes that are being introduced”.
The next one likely to collapse is that of the tax authority, he said.
“The Portuguese state is treating information systems as if they were things in supermarkets. They don’t realise that they need experienced technicians in charge who operate with codes of ethics and knowledge of criminal responsibility.
“Right now, anyone seems to be able to get in there and create a database using confidential information.
“There is no one responsible, who has to sign off a system like an engineer would sign off the construction of a bridge for instance”, while the level of complexity within systems has now become a mind-boggling hotchpotch of sub-system over sub-system, he explained.
“It’s a disaster in the making,” Tribolet told SIC’s news anchor.
It is also the sort of news that could make many people’s weekends.
Meantime – and despite constant assurances to the contrary – the country’s judicial portal CITIUS, designed to be ‘rapid’ and an essential tool for magistrates, lawyers and judges, is still on a frustrating go-slow.
Since the introduction of the ‘new judicial map’ at the beginning of September, law courts have been thrown into chaos as details of as many as 3.5 million cases were ‘lost’ in cyber-fog.
Though many of these cases have since been retrieved and can now be accessed online, news on Friday is that CITIUS was still “far from working properly” and missing upwards of 500,000 case details.
As Tribolet commented when the portal first collapsed, the fiasco stemmed from problems “ignored for many, many years”.
They could have been avoided if those in charge hadn’t been computer illiterates, from the point of view of what they were dealing with, he said.
“The documents are in the system – but it is like in our own home: we accumulate papers without much organisation and when we need something, we don’t know where it is,” he concluded.