A Potential Solution?
Maybe one solutionor a compromise in the debate between our need for collective security and our need to protect individual privacy and freedomsis not to create one large all-encompassing database, but rather several more focused databases. As I mentioned at the start of this article, as the end goal of quickly identifying threats and thwarting them is universally desired (if there ever could be such agreement), we may be able to fashion databases aimed at the primary threats against our country.
For example, medical information and all related concerns (treatment for biological diseases, school absenteeism patterns, and so on) can be placed in one database that can be monitored by healthcare professionals at the appropriate levels as an early warning indicator of any sort of attack or outbreak.
Another database can be developed combining all U.S. and international "watch lists," with this information then disseminated to border patrols, Coast Guard, customs officers, police agencies, and others who may come into contact with these individuals.
This tactic will limit the information in each database, thereby limiting the access of each database administrator and user, and thus reducing the risk of internal sabotage and the potential consequences of the database being compromised. In addition, privacy would be maintained because the information would be used only for the original overall purpose for which it was collected: medical information to defend against attacks on our health systems, financial information for attacks against our financial systems, etc.
I'd like to add one last thought. Just because information is shared, that doesn't mean that it's accurate. Just because a structured schema allows the information to be correlated and queried, that doesn't mean the analysis will be accurate or will help identify terrorist threats.
We need this solution not to be just another diversionary tactic to cause people to lose focus on the matter at handsecuring our homeland and our very way of life from those who seek to destroy usbut to really be an honest attempt at changing the status quo and defining a government structure to truly defend.