Monday, April 04, 2005

Classified Bloggers?

An Army captain thinks that bloggers on the classified internet might be a good idea.
Encourage blogging on Intelink [classified internet or SIPRNET]. When I Google "Afghanistan blog" on the public Internet, I find 1.1 million entries and tons of useful information. But on Intelink there are no blogs. Imagine if the experts in every intelligence field were turned loose - all that's needed is some cheap software.
UPDATE: I've given this some thought and I'm not sure if it will work. Part of the reason blogging is so successful is that there are a bunch of people out there that will do it for fun on their free time. You don't surf the classified internet on your free time, you surf it at work. And not anybody can do it. So I'm not sure if this is something that will scale on the classified side of the Internet. But it would be cool if it did.

Another problem is compartmentalization. It is dangerous to create a resource that shares classified data openly without restriction. If it is compromised, the bad guys can get a handle on all that analysis. There is no way to enforce need-to-know in these sorts of environments. That is why regions that shared classified information openly have historically been huge faucets that also leak it profusely. The reason the Soviets got the bomb was not captured German scientists, it was a few individuals working in the classified but open nuclear labs on the US west coast believed a "balance of power" was better nuclear policy. So they essentially gave the bomb to the Stalin's Russia and put us into 50 years of the Cold War. Yes a few people smart enough to work in the nuclear program were also dumb enough to think that giving the bomb to one of the worlds most tyrannical regimes ever was a good idea. It is strange but true.

The final problem is one of analysis. In short, good analysis elevates the classification level of data. You can boil down a lot of unclassified data and find out things that are sensitive or classified. Incidentally, this is why I don't often talk about work here. You can do the same thing with classified data. So if you take a bunch of SECRET information and boil it down, you get TOP SECRET information. That is important because the SIPRNET is not to be used for transmitting anything above SECRET, so you run into information security very quickly.

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