LMAO, I wouldn't trust these people to protect my civil liberties. CSIS, CFR, Microsoft, IBM, In-Q-Tel, NSA, RAND, GMU labs, a Soros Foundation front group, ROFL, LOL, HAHAHAHA! I think this About Us section was written on April 1st!!!
This is the second report of an extraordinary task force we have been privileged to co-chair. This remarkable and diverse group has come together to serve our nation by doing the hard work of considering how we can create an information network that prevents terrorism and protects the security of our homeland, while preserving the civil liberties that are a fundamental part of our national values.
In the Task Force’s first report, we stressed the importance of creating a decentralized network of information-sharing and analysis to address the challenge of homeland security. We emphasized the need to form that network around presidential guidelines shaped by public debate on how to both achieve security and maintain liberty. We also set forth principles for capitalizing on our society’s strengths in information and technology. In this second report, we reaffirm those principles and provide greater detail on how to implement our approach.
The network we envision would be created with the following key elements, which reflect the character of the distributed, asymmetric threat we confront:
1. The handling of information should be decentralized, and should take place directly among users, according to a network model rather than a mainframe or hub-and-spoke model.
2. The network should be guided by policy principles that simultaneously empower and constrain government officials by making it clear what is permissible and what is prohibited.
3. Our government’s strategy should focus on prevention.
4. The distinguishing line between domestic and foreign threats is increasingly difficult to sustain. Thus, in its approach, our government should avoid creating blind spots, or gaps between agencies, that arise from this distinction. At the same time, though, our government needs urgently to define new rules—rules to replace the old “line at the border” between domestic and foreign authorities for information-collection and use—to ensure that agencies do not infringe on our traditional civil liberties.
5. The network should reflect the fact that many key participants are not in the federal government, but rather in state or local government and the private sector.
6. The network should make it possible for the government to effectively utilize not only information gathered through clandestine intelligence activities and law enforcement investigations, but also appropriate information held by private companies. This should happen only after clear articulation by the government of the need for this information and the issuance of guidelines for its collection and use.
7. Combating terrorism is a long-term effort that is designed to protect our way of life and our values along with our security. Therefore, the policies and actions undertaken need to have the support—and trust—of the American people. Privacy and other civil liberties must be protected.
What do these principles mean in practice?
First, our government should give greater priority to sharing and analyzing information. In the Cold War intelligence architecture, the government placed a premium on the security of information. It developed a system that tightly controlled access to information by requiring that every individual have a demonstrable “need to know” certain information before he could see it and by allowing the agency that initially acquired the intelligence to restrict further dissemination of that intelligence. This system assumed that it was possible to determine a priori who needed to know particular information. And it reflected the judgment that the risk of inadvertent or malicious disclosure was greater than the benefit of wider information-sharing.
This architecture and the underlying assumptions are ill suited to today’s challenges. The events of September 11, 2001, have starkly demonstrated the dangers associated with the failure to share information, not only within the federal government, but also between the federal government, on the one hand, and state and local governments and the private sector on the other. Therefore, the government should open up the system to state and local agencies and officials and, in some circumstances, to private sector actors, providing access not just to information but to technology and money as well. Our government should reengineer operational processes where needed and build the technology architecture and tools that will facilitate two-way sharing and interoperability. Our government should also take into account the needs of the users, as well as the agency that originally developed the information, in deciding whether or how to control where the information goes. This should take place in an environment in which the need to protect both the security of sensitive information and individual civil liberties is consistently addressed.
Furthermore, our government should effectively utilize the valuable information that is held in private hands, but only within a system of rules and guidelines designed to protect civil liberties. Our nation can never hope to harden all potential targets against terrorist attack. Therefore, we must rely on information to try to detect, prevent, and respond to attacks. The travel, hotel, financial, immigration, health, or educational records of a person suspected by our government of planning terrorism may hold information that is vital to unveiling both his activities and the identities and activities of other terrorists.
But until the government devises consistent guidelines for controlling when and how such information is accessed and used—and until those guidelines are publicly debated—the public’s concerns over potential privacy infringements will continue to hamper the necessary development of new technologies and new operational programs to use that information.
The need to create the network we envision is more urgent than ever. Terrorism remains a continuing threat around the world. And the potential for terrorists to use weapons of mass destruction raises the stakes considerably. Building the technical architecture, changing agency cultures, establishing new rules and procedures, and securing the necessary funding all take time. It is therefore imperative that the steps we recommend receive immediate attention. We urge the Executive Branch and Congress to implement the measures necessary to create the proposed Systemwide Homeland Analysis and Response Exchange Network (SHARE)—which would empower all participants to be full and active partners in protecting our security, and which would be governed by guidelines designed to protect our liberties.
Zoë Baird James Barksdale
Task Force on National Security in the Information Age
10 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, NY 10020-1903
About the Markle Foundation:
The Task Force on National Security in the Information Age is supported by the Markle Foundation, a New York-based private philanthropy that works to realize the potential of emerging communications and technology to improve people's lives. The Foundation has two active program areas: Information Technologies for Better Health, and Policy for a Networked Society, under which The Task Force on National Security in the Information Age falls. The Markle Foundation's overarching goal in this area is to enhance national security through innovative use of information and communications technologies developed in a manner protective of personal security and liberty. For more information, see www.markle.org
In Alliance With:
Center for Strategic & International Studies
The Brookings Institution
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