Customs & Border Management

Information sharing – a little less conversation, a little more action

If you use google to search for the phrase, “from need to know to need to share”, you’ll get about a hundred million results. (Searching on the exact phrase will retrieve several thousand). This has been the mantra of many in the business of protecting society. Many of the articles and reasearch on it make good sense; many don’t. (For a good example, try Jeff Jonas’ elucidation of one of the problems). For a bad example – well, pick one of many. All in all, there has been too much talked about this, and too little done.

It seems like every incident – from the tragic individual (a troubled teenager’s suicide), to the horrific, multiply tragic domestic (Sandy Hook), to the geopolitically momentous (Charlie Hebdo) – raises in its aftermath questions of who knew what, when, who else needed to know, how they knew they needed to know… etc.

And it’s true that, when you examine the roadblocks to information sharing – acquisition from increasingly diverse sources, ingestion at scale and speed, powerful analytics on diverse data types, security, audit, privacy – no-one has all the answers. But everyone has the ability to do more than they do today.

The reasons why they don’t used to be, at least partly, technical. We just didn’t have solutions, or maybe even approaches, to getting some of the basics done. But we do now – as a world, as nations, as governments, as enterprises, and yes, even as inidividuals.

EU Leaders

So, the day after European leaders called for more information sharing, (Picture from POST-TV) let’s hope to see some action. Let’s look specifically for movement:

  • on creating the institutions, if they are deemed necessary, perhaps even at a supra-national level;
  • on writing the governance and changing parts of the legislation, for change will be needed there;
  • on more speedily procuring the answers;
  • and on building out the technical infrastructure.

This last is the quickest and easiest of them all. It has been for a while now. One small but relevant example is our Advanced Passenger Analysis.

“A little less conversation, a little more action”. (For millenials, that was Elvis’ plea). It was on a different topic… But on this, it should be ours too.

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