Markle Task Force Addresses Role of IT in Fight Against Terror
A national task force of experts in national security, information technology, and privacy is emphasizing the need to balance privacy and security as the war against terrorism relies increasingly on information analysis. The task force, organized by the Markle Foundation and including among its members CDT executive director Jerry Berman, issued its report, Protecting America's Freedom in the Information Age, on October 7. Recognizing that the government needs to improve its intelligence analytic capability, the report recommends that privacy guidelines be developed for the expanded forms of data analysis (such as "data mining") that a number of government agencies are adopting in an effort to prevent terrorist attacks. Noting the consensus of national security experts and privacy experts, Berman said, "We concluded that no new collection authorities are needed. Security requires better analysis of the information already being collected. Better focused analysis can also serve privacy interests by ensuring that what is being collected is relevant." The report also recommends that a privacy office be created at the Department of Homeland Security if it is established and that the new Department's data-handling practices be subject to ongoing privacy audits to ensure that data is responsibly handled.