Posts Tagged ‘Dataminers’

WASHINGTON — Fighting homegrown terrorism by monitoring Internet communications is a civil liberties trade-off the U.S. government must make to beef up national security, the nation’s homeland security chief said Friday.

As terrorists increasingly recruit U.S. citizens, the government needs to constantly balance Americans’ civil rights and privacy with the need to keep people safe, said Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

But finding that balance has become more complex as homegrown terrorists have used the Internet to reach out to extremists abroad for inspiration and training. Those contacts have spurred a recent rash of U.S.-based terror plots and incidents.

“The First Amendment protects radical opinions, but we need the legal tools to do things like monitor the recruitment of terrorists via the Internet,” Napolitano told a gathering of the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy.

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Federal Computer Week :


That’s the principle behind fusion centers: Put data in a form that analysts can turn into useful information that contributes to improved decision-making. Fusion centers combine data from various sources — primarily federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, but also other repositories, such as driver’s license databases — and make the information available through a single interface or, at least, in a single location.

By the numbers, the impact has been dramatic. Bart Johnson, principlal deputy undersecretary at DHS’ Intelligence and Analysis division, said there are 72 fusion centers in operation nationwide, up from 38 centers as recently as 2006. DHS has deployed 39 intelligence offers to state fusion centers and more are in early stages of deployment.

“It was soon realized that the concept could be very valuable beyond the counterterrorism environment and that it would be very valuable across all crime types and all hazard types,” said Stephen Serrao, a former New Jersey State Police Counterterrorism Bureau chief and now director of product management at Memex, which consults in the development and management of fusion centers.

Serrrao said funding also fueled the shift. “State agencies realized there was money available for other kinds of initiatives that were not [counterterrorism], and they tried to harness that,” he said. “They could pool their resources to build these fusion centers if they were all-crimes, all-hazards centers.” For example, an all-crimes fusion center would qualify for grants aimed at gang crimes, whereas a fusion center focused strictly on counterterrorism would not.

Serrao noted that many states were also trying to establish new emergency operations centers while fusion centers were in development. “It made perfect sense to marry up your fusion center to your emergency management system,” he said. “Basically, your fusion center is your full-time operation, and your EOC only gets activated with a large-scale event. That is the trend, and I think it makes perfect sense to go that way.”

Johnson said DHS supports the broader approach to state fusions centers. “Often, terrorism is supported by identity theft, smuggling and other ‘feeder’ crimes,” he said. “That’s where the majority of the fusion centers are right now, or heading that direction. When you have a chief need to show the mayor that not only am I helping protect the country, but protecting the local jurisdiction,” the center can prove its value.

Marty Zaworski, solutions director at Unisys, a provider of fusion center technologies, agreed. “What we’re seeing is that if you want police to come to the table, it has to transcend terrorism activity,” he said. “It has to be part and parcel with the fabric of what they do every day. What I see in fusion centers is these folks supporting the investigative process. My sense is that fusion centers are evolving as these things grow.”

Related stories:

With fusion centers, privacy is a serious — and touchy — subject

Fusion center approach could be effective in other areas

NIEM ventures forth

Needed is a single, integrated intelligence enterprise with well-defined lanes-in-the-road for each large, complicated state like New York.

Read CIA site

Anti-Fascist Calling:

It should come as no surprise then, that the secret state and the capitalist grifters whom they serve, have zeroed-in on the explosive growth of these technologies. One can be certain however, securocrats aren’t tweeting their restaurant preferences or finalizing plans for after work drinks.

No, researchers on both sides of the Atlantic are busy as proverbial bees building a “total information” surveillance system, one that will, so they hope, provide police and security agencies with what they euphemistically call “actionable intelligence.”

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Government Computer News:

The Homeland Security Department opened a new operations center today that integrates national cybersecurity and telecommunications monitoring systems and provides a new degree of situational awareness surrounding the nation’s communications, information technology and cyber infrastructure.

The new National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC), combines two of DHS’ operational organizations: the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT), which leads a public-private partnership focused on defending the nation’s cyber infrastructure; and the National Coordinating Center for Telecommunications (NCC), the operational arm of the National Communications System.

In addition, the NCCIC will integrate the efforts of the National Cybersecurity Center (NCSC), which coordinates operations among the six largest federal cyber centers, the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis and private-sector partners.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, speaking at ceremonies for the opening of the new center, said the NCCIC would make it possible to “co-locate, integrate and, over time, make interoperable our cybersecurity [activities] into a unified operations center.”

“Consolidating our cyber and communications operations centers within the NCCIC will enhance our ability to effectively mitigate risks and respond to threats,” she said.

She noted the facility would ramp up to full operation in two phases. The first phase would integrate the monitoring and response operations of U.S. CERT and NCC along with NCSC, where each organization would share information. The second phase would focus on expanding involvement with industry representatives.

Navy Rear Adm. Michael A. Brown, who serves as deputy assistant secretary for Cyber Security and Communications in DHS’s National Protection and Programs Directorate, said the new center “will provide closer coordination with representatives from 18 industry sectors,” many of whom are expected to co-locate in an Arlington, Va., office building where the new command center was built.

The center also will coordinate with representatives of state governors, chief information officers and homeland security agencies around the country and connect virtually, to varying degrees, with regional law enforcement fusion centers.

The FBI and its National Security Branch Analysis Center (NSAC) have collected 1.5 billion records from public and private sources for a massive data mining operation, according to documents recently obtained by Wired magazine. The records collected by the FBI include financial records from corporate databases, such as hotel and rental car company transactions; millions of “suspicious activity reports” from financial institutions; millions of records from commercial data aggregators; a multitude of law enforcement and non-law enforcement government databases; and public information gleaned from telephone books and news articles. The NSAC records include the FBI’s Investigative Data Warehouse, which was identified in a 2007 Department of Justice Inspector General report as the database storing information collected by the FBI through the use of National Security Letters (NSLs).

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WIRED:

Google’s information appetite is never-ending , and now the search-and-advertising giant wants your help in building a profile page that will show up anytime anyone searches on your name.

Be afraid.

The Google Profile service is intended to let you tell Google how to index you. You tell it (or hide from it) your picture, your bio, and links to your pages around the web — such as your Facebook account, Wikipedia page or your Twitter feed. It also includes a handy feature to let people email you, without actually giving out your email address.

Right now, those profiles show up low in regular search results, but as people begin to fill them out, Google will likely make them the top result for your name.

That puts Google even more firmly in control of the index of your online life. In fact, Google’s power will make it imperative for you to fill out your profile, lest you give Google all of the control over what people find about you on the net (see Google’s profile search, for instance)