06 April 2013

BCOT: Insuring Privacy and Civil Liberties...

The U.S. Nationwide SAR Initiative brings the conversation of privacy and intelligence collection to a point of convergence. Guidance for local, regional and state agencies can be found in the "Building Communities of Trust" (BCOT) program being rolled out across the country.

The continued priority is to safeguard the privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties of United States citizens (including the assurances that not only is information shared appropriately with authorized personnel but that the information that is exchanged is “quality” information). Can a nation continue to increase it's daily home town "Situational Awareness" while simultaneously preserving the constitutional rights and trusted relationship with its own citizens?

The Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) initiative is about Homeland Security Intelligence (HSI) engineered for the United States, to insure privacy and civil liberties of its citizens. Governance of vital intelligence data is at the core of the program design, combining the correct process for access and compartmentalization and the retention policies on certain types of relevant information.

The BCOT Guidance describes the challenges that must be addressed by fusion centers, local law enforcement agencies, and communities in developing these relationships of trust. These challenges can only be met if privacy, civil rights and civil liberties are protected. For fusion centers, this requires strong privacy policies and audits of center activities to ensure that the policies and their related standards are being fully met. For law enforcement agencies, it means that meaningful dialog and collaboration with communities needs to occur in a manner that increases legitimacy of the agency in the eyes of that community. Law enforcement must establish legitimacy in the communities they serve if trusting relationships are to be established. For communities, their leaders and representatives must collaborate with law enforcement and share responsibility for addressing the problems of crime and terrorism prevention in their neighborhoods.

Relationships of trust will not be established until key community leaders understand the intent of the information sharing environment and the preventive role that fusion centers and the SAR process plays in protecting the community from crime and violence. A fully transparent explanation can be the foundation for broad community understanding of the importance of these initiatives as well as the critical privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties protections that are in place.

The issue of trust is paramount in any relationship, whether it be personal or a JTTF working in concert with the local Metropolitan Police Department. In either case, the "Four Cores of Credibility" are necessary for humans to operate at the "Speed of Trust":

Integrity - is deep honesty and truthfulness. It is who we really are. It includes congruence, humility and courage. To increase your integrity, make and keep commitments to yourself. Stand for something and then live by it. Be open. Do you seriously consider other viewpoints? 
Intent - is your fundamental motive or agenda and the behavior that follows. It includes motive, agenda and behavior. To improve your intent, examine your motives. Are everyone's interests being served? Share the "why" behind the "what" wherever possible. 
Capabilities - is our capacity to produce and accomplish tasks: talents, attitudes, skills, knowledge and style. To build your capabilities run with your strengths. Match your strengths to unique high-value opportunities. Know where you are going and keep the vision in front of you. 
Results - is your track record. People evaluate you on three key indicators of performance. Past, current and anticipated. To improve your results take responsibility and adopt a "results" mind-set. Expect to win and create a climate of high expectations. Finish strong and avoid the "victim mentality." 
Trust in a relationship and an environment of trust in the economy, national security or the stock market makes all the difference. The behaviors that you exhibit in public and behind closed doors with your stakeholders will set the tone for everyone inside and outside the organization. Can you think of any companies or people over the past two years that you have lost trust in?

When a person loses trust in another person, a company or its government, in many cases it comes back to information governance. The time, place and method for information dissemination or sharing will in many cases, become the basis for the reason why trust is maintained or eroded in the eyes of the other.

Suffice it to say that more than ever, "Open Source" information is becoming the starting point for all intelligence collection activities. In the context of the corporate policy regarding the use of systems, most if not all companies have the right to monitor all applications for "Red Flag" indicators of fraud, espionage or other violations of state and federal laws. Corporations are using "Open Source" information to determine the initial profile of potential candidates for open positions including the analysis of FaceBook or LinkedIn social networking sites.
Executive Order 12333 emphasizes US citizens rights:
The Executive Order maintains and strengthens existing protections for Americans' civil liberties and privacy rights. The Executive Order retains and reinforces the provisions in place in the original Executive Order 12333 to ensure that all intelligence activities are conducted in a manner that protects the civil liberties and privacy rights of Americans. All collection, retention, and dissemination of information regarding United States persons must be conducted in accordance with procedures approved by the Attorney General.
The future of "Building Communities of Trust" in the United States will require significant investments in building awareness, training front line officers and implementing effective oversight mechanisms. It will be achieved without the sacrifice of the rule sets established in 1791.

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