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7/27/2011
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Social Media Vs. Organized Crime

White House launches plan to leverage social networks and new intelligence and information sharing technologies to fight crime on a global scale.

Inside DHS' Classified Cyber-Coordination Headquarters
(click image for larger view)
Slideshow: Inside DHS' Classified Cyber-Coordination Headquarters
The National Security Agency (NSA) aims to use social media and improved data sharing as part of an enhanced strategy to fight organized crime in the United States and abroad.

The White House has launched the Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime to step up its efforts to fight this type of crime by better integrating diverse work from various agencies that collect intelligence data and track and investigate these types of criminals.

The new plan is the result of a year-long study of the current state of these types of crimes, the most comprehensive of its kind in 15 years, according to a White House blog post.

The feds in general have been working across various agencies that are responsible for crime investigations and the protection of the general public--such as the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Defense--to better share information. Often agencies with different responsibilities for investigation don't communicate effectively with each other, a problem the federal government has been trying to remedy through the use of technology.

The same is the case with those investigating organized crime, and the new strategy aims to fix that by coordinating information sharing among various organizations and specialized intelligence centers that are responsible for handling these types of crimes.

This will involve the Cyber Crimes Center to coordinate the collection and analysis of intelligence regarding various aspects of the threat from transnational organized crime, according to the strategy, which is posted online.

The plan also includes the NSA coordinating with the interagency International Organized Crime Intelligence and Operations Center (IOC-2) to use existing resources and databases of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Fusion Center (OCDETF) and the Drug Enforcement Agency's Special Operations Division to share intelligence and produce leads for investigators and prosecutors working across the United States, according to the plan.

The IOC-2, formed in 2009, collects information from law-enforcement agencies and federal prosecutors to fight organized crime, while the OCDETF--set up 2006--serves as a central warehouse for drug and financial intelligence as well as provides cross-agency analysis and integration of that data.

Social networks also will play a role in helping the NSA track organized criminals. Through the federal Open Source Center, which provides intelligence information from around the world, the NSA will use social media, among other online outlets, to develop profiles of individuals, companies and institutions linked to transnational organized crime networks, according to the plan.

What industry can teach government about IT innovation and efficiency. Also in the new, all-digital issue of InformationWeek Government: Federal agencies have to shift from annual IT security assessments to continuous monitoring of their risks. Download it now. (Free registration required.)

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