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« To Know Semantic Reconciliation is to Love Semantic Reconciliation | Main | The Only Way to Actually Win the (Long) War on Terror »

April 30, 2007


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David Sobyra

I think you hit the nail on the head when you said that "need to share" involves a new mindset. What is really needed to advance information sharing is an entirely new paradigm - one where marking and stewardship of information are not based solely on a need to protect sensitive information. I think the "need to share" pardigm is one where people share information with a mindset that the positive outcome to be had by sharing outweigh the potential negatives of reduced "security." Security is important, but I think we have realized that keeping all of our information locked in a box doesn't help - and frsutrates those who want to help us.



"Need to Know" and "Need to Share" are not appropriate contrasting terms. "Need to Know" is often used as a content-producer label to mark data assets asserting that the data could not be shared unless the user/consumer met certain criteria.

"Need to Share" is a concept, a precept, and an objective. So many data assets are created and they need to be visible, accessible, and understandable so that they can be shared. It may be difficult to share your data with someone who could benefit from your data, if they don't know enough about the document to assert their need to know.

Think about the counter label to "Need to Know" as "Need to Hide". Be more overt in putting the onus on the data producers as to why there is a "need to hide". Think about the producer qualifying the need to hide for a specific reason, whether it be for proprietary reasons, HCFA, sources and methods, etc. If the user/consumer has not yet seen the document, how would he know what the need to know was, until after he accessed the document?

Just a thought posted to an interesting blog. Thanks Jeff for putting your commentary out for public consumption.


An alternative to a data index would be drilling into people's heads that it is their responsibility to get data they have into people's hands who need it. Kind of like the video clerk who sent the video of the Fort Dix plotters to the FBI. Instead of indexing data, you'd have to index agencies and their requirements.


Clearly there is an appropriate tension between the "need to know" concept and the need to share philosophy being directed by the Director of National Intelligence. And this new approach is basically asking the Intelligence Community to change its culture (a hard thing to ask) so that its basic ethos is the responsibility to provide information. But who do we want to provide it to? To those who need to know it, correct? And, as your argument articulated, that is the crux of it. To me, the change will be this: share information, and pull back (by exception) those pieces which need to be restricted and let the data provider (via a given community of interest) determine if the individual has the criteria to access it. Thus, need to know is by default if a given user is operating in a given virtual environment.

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