Benefits of information sharing outweigh vulnerabilities

The Markle Foundation’s Task Force on National Security in the Information Age has written “Nation At Risk: Policy-Makers Need Better Information to Protect the Country,” which focuses on five simple recommendations that center on leadership to change bureaucracy, enforce already existing rules and seize the moment to make change happen.

Nowhere is getting the right information at the right time more critical than in the area of national security — defense, intelligence, diplomacy and so on. And people working in the government know all too well the consequences of not having such information available in a timely manner. So it is perhaps unsurprising that researchers are now publishing reports about the new field of information sharing and national security at a rapid clip.

Shortly after my paper with Linton Wells II titled “Social Software and National Security: An Initial Net Assessment” was published by the National Defense University, James Jay Carafano’s “Social Networking and National Security: How to Harness Web 2.0 to Protect the Country” was published by the Heritage Foundation. Both papers generally agree that although there are completely reasonable concerns about network security and information assurance, the costs of not sharing information can outweigh the cost of sharing it.

Now, the Markle Foundation’s Task Force on National Security in the Information Age has written “Nation At Risk: Policy-Makers Need Better Information to Protect the Country,” which reaffirms ideas in the NDU and Heritage reports. Interestingly, the Markle report focuses on five simple recommendations that center on leadership to change bureaucracy, enforce already existing rules, and seize the moment to make change happen. Along with my brief commentary, they are:

1. Reaffirm information sharing as a top priority. Sharing information with people who need it is, in principle, what the government practices. But a variety of cultural, organizational and individual barriers stand in the way in many cases. Strong top-down leadership is necessary to crack this problem and create an environment of “need to share” or “responsibility to provide” rather than “need to know.”

2. Make government information discoverable and accessible to authorized users by increasing the use of commercial technology. It’s impossible to predict what bits of information will be useful to specific people at specific times. Private-sector Web 2.0 technology can be used or adapted for information discovery in the government.

3. Enhance security and privacy protections to match the increased power of shared information. Information sharing has a downside: the information is being shared. Important steps with regard to ensuring information security and protecting personal privacy or sensitive information are imperative and must be balanced against a need to share.

4. Transform the information-sharing culture with metrics and incentives. It’s difficult to measure the value of editing one sentence of a wiki or sharing a link on Yammer. Individuals should be accountable for their sharing, the behavior should be transparent, and metrics for individual contributions should be created to measure modern performance.

5. Empower users to drive information sharing by forming communities of interest. Important topics cannot always be dictated by a memo from the top down. Users should have permission to create communities of interested individuals who follow relevant topics, and they should have technologies such as social networks that enable and extend this.

Information technology underlies information sharing. But hardware and software are not the central problem, nor even the primary solution — people are. Changes in workplace culture will empower people to use tools that already exist to do their jobs — and ultimately to serve the country — better.


X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.