Information Sharing

Three things to watch on information sharing

folder stamped 'top secret'

How is information sharing policy going to change in 2014?

Kshemendra Paul, program manager for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence's Information Sharing Environment, offered several predictions this week at an executive briefing in Washington, D.C.

Enhanced cybersecurity: In the wake of several high-profile corporate data breaches and former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden publicly releasing a smorgasbord of classified surveillance data, Paul said the cybersecurity domain is going to receive lots of extra attention.

"We’re going to see more robust applications of [Information Sharing Environment] frameworks," Paul said. "Threat modeling, data standards, things like that in the cybersecurity space. [We’ll have] greater cross-domain cybersecurity." 

What that means is a better view of bad actors or potential problems. For example, someone whose mission is infrastructure protection could have an integrated view of physical and cyber threats to an organization, not just one or the other.

New RFI with big data ramifications: ODNI will issue an RFI – likely within the next 60 to 90 days – with a mission partner looking for industry feedback on its new distributed data aggregation reference architecture.

The architecture is designed to make information sharing between federal agencies easier and less legally burdensome. In a sense, it helps take the "big" out of big data. Traditionally, agencies share data with each other in bulk. That is not efficient, and it creates potential problems in privacy, policy and security.

"What we want to do is use enterprise data management techniques – where the enterprise is a distributed enterprise across agencies, across levels of government – but some consistency so we can start to expose information in a more consistent way and push correlation rules to the edge of the enterprise," Paul said. "We not only want to share raw data in appropriate policy context, but also be able to share correlated data with agency partners."

Paul said an example would be the government processing visa applications. To learn if an individual has a criminal record, "limited data" could be exposed between the departments of Justice and State. There are a number of potential use cases where enhanced correlation and efficiency could have a major impact.

Best information-sharing packages all rolled up: Paul's "capstone" prediction is essentially that ISE's greatest information-sharing hits will be packaged in one big album, providing government and the public with “an easier way to the ISE interoperability framework.”

ISE will publish the capabilities in a series of tools and toolkits, hopefully sparking "community interest around different components of interoperability framework to support modular development" in the field.

"It’s an easier way for folks to understand and use best practices developed over the last decade around terrorism and homeland security information sharing," Paul said.

About the Author

Frank Konkel is a former staff writer for FCW.

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