The December 2022 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

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Last November, IEEE Spectrum Senior Editor Harry Goldstein wrote a piece titled, "We Come to Bury IE6," that discussed the lingering death of Windows Internet Explorer 6 which was released in 2001.

Well, according to UK news reports, IE6 will be lingering for a while longer, at least in the UK government.

The London Telegraph, among others, is reporting that the UK government has said that it will not be upgrading from IE6 any time soon.

Responding to a petition started by a web site design company which asked the new Prime Minister David Cameron to encourage the government to upgrade, the government instead said IE6 was just fine for its needs.

Indeed, a fully patched IE6 was sufficiently secure for government operations, and that there was no evidence that more recent browsers were more secure.

Furthermore, the Telegraph quotes the the government  as saying:

"It is not straightforward for government departments to upgrade IE versions on their systems... Upgrading these systems to IE8 can be a very large operation, taking weeks to test and roll out to all users."

"To test all the web applications currently used by government departments can take months, at significant potential cost to the taxpayer. It is therefore more cost effective in many cases to continue to use IE6 and rely on other measures, such as firewalls and malware scanning software, to further protect public sector Internet users."

"The Government continues to work with Microsoft and other Internet browser suppliers to understand the security of the products used by the Government, including Internet Explorer and we welcome the work that Microsoft are continuing do on delivering security solutions which are deployed as quickly as possible to all Internet Explorer users."

One wonders how the UK government ever convinced itself to upgrade from the Colossus.

The Conversation (0)

Why the Internet Needs the InterPlanetary File System

Peer-to-peer file sharing would make the Internet far more efficient

12 min read
An illustration of a series
Carl De Torres

When the COVID-19 pandemic erupted in early 2020, the world made an unprecedented shift to remote work. As a precaution, some Internet providers scaled back service levels temporarily, although that probably wasn’t necessary for countries in Asia, Europe, and North America, which were generally able to cope with the surge in demand caused by people teleworking (and binge-watching Netflix). That’s because most of their networks were overprovisioned, with more capacity than they usually need. But in countries without the same level of investment in network infrastructure, the picture was less rosy: Internet service providers (ISPs) in South Africa and Venezuela, for instance, reported significant strain.

But is overprovisioning the only way to ensure resilience? We don’t think so. To understand the alternative approach we’re championing, though, you first need to recall how the Internet works.

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