By Robert Barker, Infoglide Senior VP & Chief Marketing Officer
Clowns to the left of me, Jokers to the right,
Here I am, stuck in the middle with you.
- -Jerry Rafferty and Joe Egan, Stealers Wheel
One reason Identity Resolution Daily began two years ago was to create a venue to address privacy/security controversies. Because we supply and support core technology used in DHS’s Secure Flight program that performs airline passenger watch list matching, we established a vehicle to discuss how powerful technology can help the country be more secure while simultaneously protecting privacy.
The discussion rages on: how can we balance society’s competing needs for privacy and security? Fusion centers were created to increase the collaboration and effectiveness of law enforcement agencies in combating crime and terrorism, but now we see privacy groups and legislatures (among others) pitted against each other, and guess who’s caught in the middle? Those enforcing the law.
From wikipedia, “a Fusion Center is a terrorism prevention and response center” that gathers “information not only from government sources, but also from their partners in the private sector. They are designed to promote information sharing at the federal level between agencies such as the CIA, FBI and Department of Justice) and at the state and local level.”
A concept developed as a response to the events of 9/11, the objective of fusion centers is to coordinate law enforcement efforts to prevent future terrorist events. While 58 state and local fusion centers have been implemented, standardization is lacking when it comes to how they operate and what they focus on.
Of course, any effort that deals with personal information produces the potential for abuse. Recent news stories have raised cries from both the left and right ends of the political spectrum, resulting in some strange partnerships.
So where do we fall on this issue? You might say we’re stuck in the middle. Like law enforcement agencies, we’re trying to do our job as best we can. In the case of the agencies, it’s catching the bad guys before they do damage, yet without infringing on citizens’ privacy. For us, that means supplying software that allows them to do just that.