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President Obama issued a document intended to lay out a new strategy for information sharing, but the strategy provides more of a framework for the development of policy as opposed to establishing an actual set of new regulations.
"This Strategy recognizes this vital information for what it is -- a national asset that must be both protected and shared, as appropriate," reads the introduction to the document. "The threats to our national security are constantly evolving, so our policies to ensure this information is used and protected as intended must evolve as well. This includes protecting private and personal information about United States persons and upholding our commitment to transparency. This Strategy makes it clear that the individual privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties of United States persons must be -- and will be -- protected."
To that end, the document outlines five key objectives that focus on collaboration and accountability, improved information discovery and access, shared services and interoperability, structural reform, and privacy protection. The common thread throughout the document involves cooperation and collaboration based on a common interest in maintaining the security of the nation, its data and its infrastructure.
"I think the biggest fear is about whether the data, once collected, will be used in inappropriate ways," said Gartner security analyst Lawrence Pingree. "But bringing together data could actually reduce the downside. Data sharing will improve the context of any investigation, and context is lacking in a lot of cases. Interconnecting databases is important in pulling together a whole picture that will help you to assess what is really going on while at the same time respecting the privacy rights of people."
Pingree went on to explain that effective information sharing can lead to enhanced behavioral and reputational context that can prevent someone from government scrutiny simply because they used the wrong words on Twitter, for example.
"Interconnecting some of these agencies might reduce the ability to trip the trigger and then get nabbed because of something you said that you had no intention of acting out. On the other hand, if a known host on the Internet launches an attack, you want to be able to tell everyone that that person is an attacker," he said. "It would be very useful if the government would share that in a dynamic manner."
NEXT: Navigating The Databases