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Widespread ICT outages raise more questions

Thursday 9 November 2023 | Written by Al Williams | Published in Court, National, Technology


Widespread ICT outages raise more questions
Ministry of Justice. PHOTO: GRAY CLAPHAM/20050411

Ministry of Justice Secretary Tamatoa Jonassen has addressed ongoing information and communications technology (ICT) issues following a power cut on Rarotonga, but it appears the problem is widespread, with government still to respond to questions.

While staff at the Ministry of Justice building in Avarua were scrambling for communications following the outage on Wednesday last week, Cook Islands News understands multiple ministries and departments were affected. 

Jonassen said the power outage burned out a network switch that is maintained by government’s ICT department. 

The ICT department had to prioritise other central IT services before they could configure and replace the network switch at the Ministry of Justice, he said.  

Jonassen said the network switch was replaced and internet connectivity was restored by lunchtime Thursday last week - more than 24 hours after the outage.

Despite installing uninterruptible power supply systems to help regulate power stability, power outages or lightning strikes could still damage IT systems, he said.

“Although we had a backup network switch available, we could not install it into our secure systems without ICT first updating the configuration of the device.”

Cook Islands News went back to government and asked why ICT outages continue to occur following power cuts.

The newspaper asked which other government departments were affected by the power cut, and how long were they affected for.

The publication asked why the issue is ongoing, and what is being done to address it.

Yesterday, a spokesperson for the Office of the Prime Minister said they have been busy this week with Pacific Islands Forum related work, and may not get a response to the publication until early next week.