RCMP securing new internal communication links

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s selection of Ottawa-based Internet security firm Entrust Inc. to deliver a secure inter-jurisdictional link between police forces across Canada is a “victory for interoperability,” officials said Monday.

The RCMP is already deploying Entrust technology for internal operations in a $1 million contract extension for software and services that will allow municipal, provincial and RCMP police officials to share confidential information across departments securely, the RCMP says.

The deal is designed to secure any electronic transactions that Canadian police forces might do over the Internet including e-mail, PC encryption and VPN solutions – all using Entrust’s Truepass technology.

Monday’s announcement reflects the RCMP’s public commitment to strengthening its ability to respond to potential nationwide security threats, said RCMP spokesperson Paul Marsh, adding that it will also aid police in combating organized crime, international terrorism and other ongoing police operations.

In the past the RCMP primarily used landline telephones, secure fax and closed private networks to secure confidential communications, Marsh said.

“The Entrust Internet security will provide secure, integrated electronic communications among members of the RCMP and all provincial and municipal police officers across Canada. That will reduce the risk of theft of confidential information in the event of a stolen laptop, and police will also collaborate more effectively as they receive information and more quickly and access it more flexibly,” Marsh said.

The RCMP also plans to implement secure communication for remote laptop users and beef-up the secure transmission of electronic forms.

When the technology is rolled out later this year, there will be approximately 75,000 certified Entrust users within the RCMP, municipal and provincial police forces, all using the same technology, RCMP said.

“This is very significant because it’s the first of this kind of inter-jurisdictional deal that I’m really aware of anywhere,” said Brian O’Higgins, chief technology officer and founder of Entrust. “Police forces have always got interoperability issues, (as) they report to different levels of government … but in this case the RCMP is buying the software, maintaining the software on behalf of all the police agencies in the country.

“So the RCMP could do the management at a system on behalf of the Calgary police or Montreal Police. Over time, the Calgary or Montreal police may decide to manage their portion of the system on their own and they could do that, and maybe even a few years down the road when Government Online is really rolling out … there may be other service providers that could administer the system. So all those options are open – it’s really great for interoperability,” O’Higgins said.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police are at http://www.rcmp.ca. Entrust is at http://www.entrust.com.