Looking toward the future, Global leaders forecast some top information sharing challenges and priorities for the Committee, including horizontal information sharing, the ongoing imperative of safeguarding privacy and civil liberties, and ensuring data quality.
What’s Ahead for Global
GAC Chairman Robert Boehmer (RB)
GAC Vice Chairman Carl Wicklund (CW)
I: Let’s turn to what’s happening in the future. I’m going to ask you again a question for both of you to consider. If you look at Global and you forecast what the initiative is going to focus on, what are the pressing problems, and that sort of thing, where do you see the committee going?
RB: It’s an interesting question. It’s hard to tell in some of it, but as I start looking at a couple of things, number one, we have just begun outreach efforts and realizing the importance of outreach, not just for today but as we see continued new leaders coming in to the system throughout the country, continuing to get the message out that there are solutions out there—Global’s working on things; this is available, so don’t reinvent the wheel. I think that is going to be a big challenge for us as we look at saying the Justice Reference Architecture is mature and NIEM is mature sometimes when we see new people coming into the system they are not aware of these things and I think one of our challenges is going to be to continue to have that word out. The other challenge I think in terms of technologies are some of these new technologies that people are just talking about like the cloud computing which is kind of virtual resources over the Internet—How does that apply? What types of technologies do we apply to that? Is it a technology issue or a policy issue regarding privacy? Who owns the system? Who owns the data? And those types of things. The same could be said for any social networking like Facebook, Twitter, and those types of things. I think those are going to be the challenges we start to look at as well as some other things I am sure involve intelligence.
CW: I think that as we look to the future we certainly have to look at how we are going to mature the products and services that Global has either developed or had a hand in. The justice system is diverse morphous and we have very large, well-resourced jurisdictions to very small, poorly resourced jurisdictions and it’s only going to work if everybody gets on the same page and has the same basic capabilities of sharing information. And that’s both through technology as well as through policy development, and I think we have our hands full in not only getting that message out but getting the resources out to help people implement a lot of these Global resources. You know just the whole idea of integrating and implementing the Justice Reference Architecture: the solution is there but people’s capability to actually implement it is challenged in a lot of different ways. Most of it has to do with just resource allocation. We can develop all of these exchange packages for information sharing that will get integrated in the standards that the industry develops for case management tools but people still have to have the hardware that can handle this and the software that can handle this. Federated ID and privileged management solutions, the ability to sign-on once to many different sites, not only requires a willingness policywise to allow that to happen but it is also going to require some technological solutions to make sure that the right person is getting the right information. So, I think we have a lot of stuff that we need to keep working on. I think we need to get our standards adopted by both the private and public sectors. There’s lots of work.
I: And I know speaking to that, Carl, about the implementation, the training, and technical assistance, I know that we had talked about the fact that the Global Advisory Committee meets twice a year. And at our last meeting, this past April, we went around the table and had people talk about their biggest challenges, what do you see as the things that Global needs to work on, and it was interesting when we compiled the list that a lot of it had to do with – it wasn’t that we had to do new things, it was teach us how to use the things that have already been done. So it kind of speaks exactly to that implementation and training and technical assistance. During that roundtable, the members identified keys things and I’m going to ask each of you to talk about the things that were mentioned. Bob, first you, can you speak a little bit to horizontal information sharing and how Global is involved in this activity.
RB: Most of Global’s activities are really focused and support the horizontal information sharing. We’ve seen a lot of talk and policy issues regarding the vertical sharing, especially on the intelligence side – making sure that, for example, with suspicious activity reporting, making sure that when a person reports to a local police department a suspicious activity, it can be vertically shared all the way to the local police department, fusion center, Department of Homeland Security, and others who need that information – that’s a very public view of the horizontal sharing that’s been done with Global—or the vertical [information sharing]. But the horizontal sharing, I think that we see efforts already that Global is working on. For example, sharing gang information among between Department of Corrections and local law enforcement agencies, so the local law enforcement agency knows the gang member that is coming out and knows a little bit about them before they come back into their communities. There’s a lot of efforts working with the courts using standards approaches in the courts and privacy policies in the courts. We’ve continued to do that and provide those solutions, the standards-based approaches that local jurisdictions can use to share within their jurisdictions as well as to share with neighboring and other jurisdictions that they have a common interest with.
CW: I do think that the horizontal sharing of information and the vertical sharing of information raises a number of red flags around privacy and civil liberties and how those are protected and what kind of technological solutions there are to protect people’s privacy and civil liberties. There is also the issue of how that gets done: Is there not only technological solutions but are there solutions also for ensuring that the information that people get—Is it quality? Is it accurate? Is it timely? Is it the right information that they need? Is it coming to them in a form that they can use? Those are all things that we are trying to work on within Global. But sharing horizontally is great as we start looking at expanding into other areas, whether it be sharing information with Health and Human Services or the Department of Homeland Security or whatever. But we also have to look both horizontally and vertically about how we do that: are we actually really protecting people, are we actually getting the information that people need not necessarily the information that they just want.
Opinions or points of view expressed in these recordings represent those of the speakers and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice. Any commercial products and manufacturers discussed in these recordings are presented for informational purposes only and do not constitute product approval or endorsement by the U.S. Department of Justice.