When Government Websites Go Wrong

Now Leaving MaltaIn the same day, I encountered the websites of two different nations doing stupid things. First, the Maltese Ministry of Foreign Affairs actually notifies you with an alert message when you’re leaving their website. It’s a read-only website–you’re not logged in or doing anything fancy. It just pops up the message when you click an external link.

Lousy Browser SupportThen we were trying to access our tax account on the Canada Revenue Agency’s site (they’re having some other computer issues these days, of course). It does a browser check when you try to log in, and these are the browsers they support:

On Microsoft Windows Operating Systems:

  • Internet Explorer 6.0;
  • Netscape Communicator/Navigator 7.02;
  • Netscape Communicator/Navigator 7.2;
  • Mozilla Firefox 1.0.6.

Wow, that’s great. So they support, what, about 60% of Internet users?

To add insult to injury, when you click the login link, you get a spinning GIF graphic and this message

Please wait.

The system is processing your request.

This may take several minutes…

Several minutes? Is Canada’s tax agency running on software from 1985? In truth, it only takes a couple of seconds, but I thought the error message was hilarious.


  1. I do know that the CRA site works fine when you login in Firefox 1, 1.5 and 2; I believe they’re just trying to say “if it don’t work, we never said it would in the first place, so tough beans”.

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