Linking more silos

The Regional Information Sharing Systems (RISS) program already provides collaboration services for state and local law enforcement beyond its basic intranet, but two new initiatives will focus on the specific problem of terrorism and the broader community that has to deal with it.

The RISS Anti-Terrorism Information Exchange (ATIX) will bring other communities besides law enforcement into the RISS network. This includes public health organizations, fire departments, and even public utilities and school systems, said Steve Hodges, national issues coordinator for RISS. Hodges spoke recently at the Government Convention on Emerging Technologies in Las Vegas. All of these communities will be able to access the RISS Network, or RISSNet, and its databases, bulletin boards, secure e-mail and other services. But because much of the information on RISSNet is sensitive or part of criminal investigations, officials are taking steps to make sure ATIX will allow these additional communities to access only information they are cleared for, said Angelo Fiumara, deputy director of the RISS Office of Information Technology at the Justice Department. Because it is part of RISS, ATIX also will be linked to the Open Source Information System network under development at the federal level, giving the larger homeland security community at the state and local levels access to even more resources, Hodges said. The RISS Multi-States Anti-Terrorism Information Exchange is one of several pilot projects sponsored by the Office of Homeland Security. It will tie together state and local homeland security organizations across the country, such as the Colorado state police and the Association of American Railroads' intelligence unit, Fiumara said. These organizations also will have access to the standard RISSNet services, he said.

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