Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Markle Foundation release report on coordinating intelligence, protecting civil liberties

The Markle Foundation, Task Force on National Security in the Information Age, has published a PDF document (100 pages) and associated multi-media summary and press release “Mobilizing Information to Prevent Terrorism: Accelerated Development of a Trusted Information Sharing Environment,” the Third Report from the Group, link here. The Press Release is here, “Report recommends new concepts that reconcile national security needs with civil liberties requirements”, Zoe Baird and James Barksdale are the chairpersons.

The Wall Street Journal has a story this morning by Siobhan Gorman, “Group finds intelligence gap persists,” link here.

In general, the group feels that the government is not able to connect the dots and protect civil liberties simultaneously. Agencies need to share information at a higher level as well as just tips. The Group also recommends a new Information Sharing Institute.

In this age of asymmetry, it is possible for ordinary citizens, especially those active on the Web, to receive unsolicited “tips” which they may not recognize (differentiate from spam) and which government may not be able to assess properly. The asymmetry could also sometimes make ordinary citizens accidental “accomplices” of terrorists, a possibility that was sometimes mentioned in the media shortly after 9/11 in conjunction with “steganography” and hacking on the Web.

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