G8 summit will test the data-sharing capabilities:
By Larry Greenemeier
This week's Group of Eight Summit at a small resort island off the Georgia coast is the biggest test to date of the federal government's ability to coordinate secure communications among law-enforcement and other public officials at all levels of government. The Homeland Security Information Network is at the center of that effort, letting local, state, and federal officials collect and share sensitive-but-unclassified information. HSIN this summer will reach 100 law-enforcement and other security agencies, Holcomb says.
HSIN, which the Department of Homeland Security rolled out four months ago, is a collection of collaborative tools, including Groove Networks Inc.'s Workspace and Microsoft's SharePoint portal and workflow software, that works in real time over existing networks and the Internet. It's a 'fairly ubiquitous way to send out alerts throughout the country,' says Lee Holcomb, chief technology officer for the Department of Homeland Security. 'HSIN provides the ability for federal partners to reach out and touch local and state agencies.'
The technology is in place in and around Sea Island, Ga., where President Bush is hosting leaders from seven of the most powerful nations in the world. It lets the 20,000 police and federal agents deployed to the area access information from federal, state, and local law-enforcement groups, as well as federal security agencies, governors' offices, and other emergency-management groups. Local law enforcement, including the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Georgia Emergency Management Agency, can send information on local situations back to the Homeland Security Department and other federal agencies monitoring the event."