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The IJIS Factor is the IJIS Institute's blog that covers information sharing and safeguarding topics, including national standards and initiatives.

 

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WIS3 Highlights Cooperation and Coordination in Info Sharing

Posted By Ashwini Jarral, Monday, April 4, 2016

The Workshop on Information Sharing and Safeguarding Standards (WIS3) is an annual event sponsored by the Standards Coordinating Council (SCC) and the IJIS Institute. The 2016 event was held on 17 March at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Reston, Virginia.

This year’s WIS 3 was an interactive workshop that brought together more than 100 government and industry leaders to chart the future for architecture and standards frameworks for the national information sharing environment.

The workshop opened with an introduction from Victor Harrison, senior VP of Object Management Group (OMG). WIS was co-located with the OMG Technical Meeting.

The opening keynote presentation was given by a special guest, Michael Echols, director of the Cyber Joint Program Management Office, National Cybersecurity Policy and Risk Management, Department of Homeland Security. He spoke about the recent executive orders on cybersecurity and what progress has been made. He had two important points that he emphasized to participants: 1) that cybersecurity is a team sport with many communities of interest that are involved and 2) that public/private partnerships are essential for success in improving the state of cyber security in this country.

Of particular interest to the WIS3 attendees and the SCC, Echols noted that, “standards are how we empower the weakest team members and make the networks that link us strong.”

Echols went on to discuss the need for information sharing platforms to be linked. He discussed the need for more organizations and individuals to get involved in the Information Sharing and Analysis Organization (ISAO) Standards Organization, www.isao.org. He went on to say that, “we want to move cyber threat information to the right people at the right place in the right time,” and that realizing this would start with standards and mean working with organizations in the community of interest.

The first panel of the workshop was Project Interoperability 2.0. The panelists provided the vision for Project Interoperability 2.0 activities. The panel was moderated by Kshemendra Paul, program manager, Information Sharing Environment (PM-ISE), Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) and the panelists were:

  • Steve Ambrosini, executive director, IJIS Institute
  • Mark Reichardt, president and CEO, Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC)
  • Jamie Clark, general counsel, Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (Oasis)
  • Ashwini Jarral, director of operations, IJIS Institute

At the start of the panel, Paul reviewed PM ISE’s perspective on the future of Project Interoperability and the role of PM ISE in that effort. He also discussed the development and importance of the Information Sharing and Safeguarding (IS&S) Playbook, http://www.standardscoordination.org/iss-playbook, and how the Playbook interacts with the work of the SCC and Project Interoperability.

Ambrosini discussed IJIS’ role and interest in the SCC and Project Interoperability and noted that through the SCC, organizations can send out relevant standards to communities of interest, public and private, to encourage use and adaptation.

Reichardt discussed that OGC’s interest in the SCC is access across standards development organizations (SDOs) and different communities of interest so that standards created worldwide by OGC are not created in a vacuum. He provided an example of this, noting that earlier versions of the National Information Exchange Model (NIEM) were able to transmit location information but not within the frameworks of the GIS providers. OGC conducted a pilot to use NIEM to transmit location information and now the changes discovered through this process are a part of NIEM 3.0. He stated that engaging industry in the creation of tools and testing things in real operational situations are examples of success through SCC. OGC is an international organization and the international connections help them enable information sharing across national boundaries. OGC is planning pilots in the international space to further these important efforts.

Jamie Clark build on this concept using an analogy that all the SDOs are out there creating tools, but if you put a toolbox in front of people without any experience with a hammer, they won’t be able to make any sense out of the 45 different hammers in the box. The SCC can be thought of as a way to help guide those people to understand what is in that toolbox and ways it can be used, ultimately encouraging people to reach in the box and use the tools effectively instead of being overwhelmed and closing the box. Clark encouraged people from other SDOs to participate in the SCC so we can help the greater information sharing community properly use the toolbox.

Clark also had a real-world example; OASIS was working on XACML and through their involvement in the SCC they discovered that OGC was working on the geospatial component of XACML. The two organizations ended up working together to both organization’s and both standard’s benefits.

Jarral discussed how the many pieces that were discussed so far, like the SCC, Project Interop, and others, fit together and interrelate.

Following the panel presentation, a town hall-type session was held to allow the audience to provide comments and ask questions of the panelists about the SCC and Project Interoperability. It was a very lively session that went to the last minute with audience questions and comments.

The next panel was a discussion of information sharing and interoperability in the maritime domain. The moderator for the panel was Doc Holliday from the PM-ISE and the panelists were:

  • Dr. Mark Haselkorn, professor of human-centered design and engineering, University of Washington, and director, Center for Collaborative Systems for Security, Safety, and Regional Resilience (CoSSaR)
  • Bradford Clark, Mission Integration and Capability Development Division, Office of Shore Forces (CG-741), U.S. Coast Guard

Haselkorn and Clark educated participants on how Federal partners have co-sponsored and teamed with the University of Washington to analyze the Puget Sound operational sharing environment, how Project Interoperability tools and resources are being employed there, and how the results of this work, in addition to being shared across the greater maritime community of interest.

Haselkorn noted in his presentation that we aren’t designing systems for users because users are a part of the system; it is more like we are designing Interventions to close the socio-technical gap. His presentation also focused on the work of the CoSSaR. He went on to state that the intent of the work being done should be the development of a common operational picture instead of hoping that someday there would be one big system that everyone used, as that was not a possible scenario.

The next panel was a use case about law enforcement deconfliction and request for information. The panel was moderated by Hank Oleyniczak from the PM-ISE and the panelists included:

  • Alan Rosenhauer, CTO, RISS Technology Center
  • Glenn Fueston, associate deputy director, Intelligence and Information Sharing Initiative, Washington/Baltimore High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area

Deconfliction is becoming a standardized term within the law enforcement community. The panelists discussed the varying degrees of what deconfliction represents in the law enforcement community and reviewed a successful implementation interconnecting three nationally-recognized event deconfliction systems (RISSafe, Case Explorer, and SAFETNet).

The panelists described the three types of deconfliction: 1) Event Deconfliction is agencies avoiding an event at the same time in the same place, 2) Case/Subject/Target/Entity Deconfliction is law enforcement provider to law enforcement provider communications about issues, and 3) a Request for Information is a generic request for info about a topic in a general sense.

Both presenters reinforced the necessary ingredients between partners for deconfliction activities are  building trust, enabling interoperability with security/safeguarding, and achieving scalability as deconfliction efforts move from event to general requests for information and all within the framework of countering terrorism and enhancing homeland security.

Rosenhauer discussed future plans for enhancements involve investigating potential connections with the Drug Enforcement Agency, cyber organizations, FBI, N-DEx, and other national and regional partners. More about their project can be learned at www.ncirc.gov/deconfliction.

The fourth panel was entitled Scaling Trust and Interoperability: Lessons from Federating Identity and Access. The panel was moderated by John Wandelt, fellow and division chief, Information Exchange and Architecture Division, Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI). The panelists were:

  • Alan Rosenhauer, CTO, RISS Technology Center
  • Marc-Anthony Signorino, JD, CIPP, executive director, Identity Ecosystem Steering Group, Inc.
  • Bill Phillips, security specialist, Nlets
  • Tom McCarty, director, Identity, Credential and Access Management (ICAM) Program Management Office (PMO), Information Sharing Environment Office, Office of the CIO, DHS
  • Jim Derry, IT Manager, Tennessee Methamphetamine & Pharmaceuticals Task Force

Scaling trust and interoperability across autonomous federal, state, and local partner organizational boundaries is a fundamental requirement of the information sharing and safeguarding environment to support the counterterrorism and homeland defense mission. The panelists explores experiences, lessons learned, and strategies from existing trust framework operators and stakeholders during the implementation of the federated identity use case.

The fifth and last panel of the day was called New National Initiatives: Leveraging Project Interoperability and Standards to Create Information Sharing Momentum. The moderator for this panel was Ashwini Jarral, director of operations, IJIS Institute, and the panel included:

  • Laurie Flaherty, Coordinator of the National 911 program, Department of Transportation
  • Vernon Mosley, Senior Cybersecurity Engineer, Cybersecurity and Communications Reliability Division, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
  • Peter Shebell, Deputy Director for Standards Policy and Coordination, Office of Standards, Capability Development Support Group, Science and Technology Directorate
  • Jeff Bratcher, CTO, FirstNet
  • Richard Spires, CEO, Learning Tree International (former DHS CIO)

The panelists discussed opportunities and challenges around interoperability, standards, and building trust within their community. Panelists provided their perspective on using different components of Project Interoperability and SCC resources to develop an information sharing and safeguarding environment. The panel also addressed the policy and procurement challenges that agencies face as they develop standards-based capabilities.

The workshop closed with a wrap up of the day’s events and view for the future by Paul from the PM-ISE.

Planning has already started for the 2017 WIS3. Please visit www.standardscoordination.org for event information as well as other SCC information and activities.

Tags:  cybersecurity  information sharing  interoperability  WIS3 

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Promoting Meaningful Information Sharing

Posted By Robert L. May II, Monday, February 29, 2016

Earlier this month I was invited to speak at a special event hosted by the City of Denver Department of Human Services Crime Prevention and Control Commission. The event, Promoting Meaningful Information Sharing, was held in Denver on 23 February intended to help participants:

  • Ensure accurate information on Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and 42-CFR laws.
  • Understand current interpretations and practices regarding HIPAA and 42-CFR laws.
  • Develop common practices used across and within Denver and Colorado agencies.
  • Discuss how Wellness Recovery Action Plans (WRAP) can be used across systems in a digital form.

The event began with general discussions on HIPAA and 42-CFR Part 2 and then I provided the information on criminal justice provisions within HIPAA and 42-CFR. Following my session, there was a presentation on electronic health data exchange and then the rest of the session included scenarios and responses to participant questions.

Also speaking at the event were:

  • Drew Labbo, Chief Information Security Officer & Privacy Officer at Denver Health and Hospital Authority, and he owner and principal of Rocky Mountain HIPAA Guru, which offers HIPAA consulting and HIPAA advisory services.
  • Charles Smith, PhD, Regional Administrator for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services - Region VIII (CO, MT, ND, SD, UT, and WY). Dr. Smith is a Licensed Psychologist and the former Director of the Colorado Division of Behavioral Health and Deputy Commissioner of Mental Health and Substance Abuse for the State of Colorado.
  • Hyla Schreurs, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights, Rocky Mountain Region, Supervisory Equal Opportunity Specialist. Ms. Schreurs is licensed to practice law in Colorado.
  • Jennifer Hill, Program Coordinator at the Colorado Mental Wellness Network.
  • Lyn Snow, Compliance Officer for Colorado Human Services, Office of Behavioral Health.
  • Kate Tipping, Public Health Advisor and privacy lead on SAMHSA’s Health IT Team. PATRICK FOX
  • Patrick K. Fox, MD,  Chief Medical Officer for the Colorado Department of Human Services and Deputy Director of Clinical Services for the Office of Behavioral Health.
  • Toria Thompson, Behavioral Health Information Exchange Coordinator at CORHIO and is responsible for implementing solutions for the secure exchange of Behavioral Health data within CORHIO’s HIE.

The combined PowerPoint presentations are attached to this post as a resource, and the following were provided as web resources for further information on the topics discussed.

OFFICE OF CIVIL RIGHTS (OCR): http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/hipaa/

  • Full text of Privacy, Security, and Breach Rules
  • HIPAA Privacy Rule summary
  • Covered entity "decision tool" to assist individuals and entities in making these determinations
  • Over 200 frequently asked questions
  • Fact sheets
  • Information about the OCR enforcement program

Substance Abuse& Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): http://www.samhsa.gov/healthprivacy/docs/EHR-FAQs.pdf and http://www.samhsa.gov/about/laws/SAMHSA_42CFRPART2FAQII_Revised.pdf

  • To help providers in the behavioral health field better understand privacy issues related to Health IT, SAMHSA, in collaboration with ONC has created two sets of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

IJIS AND URBAN INSTITUTE:

Opportunities for Information Sharing to Enhance Health and Public Safety Outcomes

GLOBAL STRATEGIC SOLUTIONS WORK GROUP:

Prioritizing Justice-to-Health Exchanges Task Team Final Report

GLOBAL STANDARDS COUNCIL – JUSTICE /HEALTH:

Aligning Justice-To-Health Priority Exchanges Task Team Final Report

Corrections and Reentry:

Protected Health Information Privacy Framework for Information Sharing https://csgjusticecenter.org/corrections/publications/corrections-and-reentry-protected-health-information-privacy-framework-for-information-sharing/

 

Download File (PDF)

Tags:  corrections  HIPAA  information sharing  justice-to-health  mental health  substance abuse 

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Another Successful Corrections Technology Forum

Posted By Robert L. May II, Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Corrections Technology Forum was held earlier this month, 11-13 December, and brought together state corrections administrators, corrections CIOs, probation administrators and technologists, and a limited number of sponsoring industry representatives to engage in direct dialog about current information sharing initiatives and solutions and solutions on the horizon.

Held in Arlington, Virginia, the event was attended by correctional leaders and technologists from 15 state corrections agencies, 5 community corrections agencies and 5 large jail systems. Partnering organizations for the event were the American Correctional Association (ACA), the American Probation and Parole Association (APPA), and the Corrections Technology Association (CTA). The American Jail Association also partnered with IJIS for the 2015 Forum and invited administrators and technologists from 5 large jail systems.

The 2015 Forum included the following topics/discussions:

  • Dr. Alan Shark of the Public Technology Institute spoke about Future Management Schemes for Technology Leadership,
  • Mike Roosa of the Bureau of Justice Assistance presented on the topic of Use of Body Worn Cameras in Corrections,
  • Kshemendra Paul, Program Manager, Information Sharing Environment, provided the luncheon keynote on National Information Sharing – Value to Corrections,
  • Brian Hill of Edevo presented on Secure Connectivity in Corrections,
  • Kamala Mallik-Kane of the Urban Institute talked about Health and Continuity of Care,
  • Innovative Technology for Offender Programming was presented by Heather Erwin,
  • Criminal Intelligence and Collaboration with Correction Agencies was presented by Glenn Fueston, Associate Deputy Director, Washington-Baltimore HIDTA, and
  • Cybersecurity in Corrections was presented by Mike Alagna of Sidetalk Solutions, LLC. 

Industry participants and sponsors included the following IJIS Member companies: Amazon Web Services, CNTinfotech, Esri, LEINTEL, Marquis Software, Microsoft Corporation, Securus Technologies, and Social Solutions. I would like to send them a special word of thanks for their support and participation of this important event.

The 2015 Corrections Technology Forum was the second successful Corrections Forum hosted by the IJIS Institute. The 2013 Forum was attended by practitioners from 21 state corrections agencies and 5 large county probation agencies. Partner organizations in 2013 included ACA, the APPA, and CTA.

There are plans in the works for the 2016 Corrections Technology Forum. If you are interested in sponsoring the Forum next year, please contact me at robert.may@ijis.org.

Tags:  ACA  APPA  Corrections  CTA  information sharing 

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Innovation in Incident Reporting: An Industry Perspective

Posted By Martha Hill, Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Posted on behalf of the Criminal Justice Information Systems (CJIS) Program Advisory Committee (CPAC) 

The IJIS Institute and its Member companies recognize the value to the national criminal justice community of widespread adoption of the National Incident-Based Reporting (NIBRS) program by local agencies and state crime reporting program offices.       

As firms that provide solutions and services to assist in crime reporting, the IJIS Institute’s Criminal Justice Information Systems (CJIS) Program Advisory Committee (CPAC) Member companies emphatically support the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) CJIS Division's proposed plan to transition from the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program’s traditional summary reporting to NIBRS.       

The IJIS Institute’s CPAC serves as a resource to industry regarding information on the major FBI CJIS Division information sharing programs and provides industry input and feedback to the CJIS Division. 

Based on individual experiences implementing crime reporting at the state and local levels, and collective work interacting with the FBI’s UCR Program, CPAC’s UCR Subcommittee members make the following additional recommendations to ensure a cost-effective transition:

  1. This transition will be best accomplished under a plan that provides a firm timetable.  Therefore, the IJIS Institute’s CPAC Member companies support the FBI CJIS Division’s development of a comprehensive transition plan that includes a five-year sunset provision on the UCR Summary Reporting System (SRS).
  2. Funding and incentives will further strengthen the transition.  We support federal grant programs that include NIBRS adoption as a distinct funding category. 
    We also support a program requiring participation in NIBRS as a grant funding condition to further encourage state and local law enforcement to participate in this program. 
  3. We further recommend that state UCR programs collaborate to develop standards for collecting, structuring and validating additional, state-specific reporting requirements. It is our position that the development of customized state-specific requirements for incident reporting raises the cost of providing and maintaining Records Management Systems (RMS).  We believe that these unique state variations present a significant barrier to aggressive NIBRS adoption on a national scale.  
  4. We recommend that the states and industry come together to agree on standards for extending and enhancing the core NIBRS Technical Specifications that leave intact NIBRS as the standard baseline.  Data elements, codes and other modifiers required within a specific state should be structured in such a way that the national NIBRS specification is extended, but not altered. 
  5. We strongly encourage the use of a NIBRS Information Exchange Package Documentation (IEPD), conformant with the National Information Exchange Model (NIEM) as the preferred or required format for submission of crime reports, both from local agencies to state programs, and from states to the UCR Program. The ability to create extension schemas in NIEM provides a technology and a process for supporting recommendation #3, above. 
  6. We support the harmonization of the NIBRS IEPD with the FBI’s N-DEx IEPD, to streamline law enforcement reporting and data-sharing, furthering both investigative and analytical capabilities by using shared data. 
  7. We support the work of the National Academy of Science’s Crime Indicators Working Group, in collaboration with the FBI’s Advisory Policy Board (APB), in ensuring that national crime report collections continue to reflect the nation’s public safety needs and challenges well into the future. 

The IJIS Institute’s CJIS Program Advisory Committee Member companies believe that the adoption of the recommendations given herein would streamline adoption of NIBRS. Ultimately, nationwide adoption will improve criminal justice decision-making; the ability to assess trends and make regional comparisons; and provide a greater degree of transparency.

Tags:  CJIS Program Advisory Committee  CPAC  FBI  Federal Bureau of Investigation  National Incident Based Reporting  NIBRS  UCR  Uniform Crime Report 

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Information Sharing and Safeguarding (IS&S) Environment Playbook

Posted By Ashwini Jarral, Thursday, November 12, 2015

The IJIS Institute led the development of the Information Sharing and Safeguarding (IS&S) Environment Playbook to address the question, “if we need to create an IS&S environment and have the resources, what do we do next?”

This question got the Program Manager of Information Sharing Environment (PM-ISE) leadership and the Standards Coordinating Council (SCC) members thinking about the lack of guidance for communities of interest from different missions (including all levels of governments and industry) to standup their own IS&S environment. At the request of the PM-ISE leadership, the IJIS Institute was asked to review the U.S. Digital Services Playbookhttps://playbook.cio.gov/ and develop something similar for the IS&S environment. Within a few weeks the IS&S Environment Playbook was born and now resides on the SCC’s website at http://www.standardscoordination.org/iss-playbook.

The IS&S Environment Playbook used the U.S. Digital Services Playbook as the foundational framework and extends on the key principles required to create and sustain an IS&S environment. The Playbook identifies 15 key plays based on field experience, best practices, and standards identified by the government and the private sector.

The IS&S Environment Playbook is meant to be flexible for all types of users. It is functional at a starting-from-scratch level; however, the Playbook is also intended to allow users at any point in their process to pick up the document, identify where they are in the process, and then move forward. For organizations in beginning stages, the plays serve as a roadmap and incorporate the tried and tested processes of more experienced communities. For more advanced users, the plays that are before a point of entry still may have relevance to a development effort and may contain ideas and actions to improve a development process. In addition, the IS&S Environment Playbook is iterative. Users may complete a play and then have to go back to it as more is learned later in a development effort. Users may have a phased development approach that brings the project back to a certain point in the plays as phase milestones are crossed.

This IJIS Institute developed the IS&S Environment Playbook for all kinds of mission partners (such as law enforcement, public safety, intelligence, homeland security, and many others) who want to get together to address the IS&S challenges and develop communities of practice that can use and reuse these plays to advance IS&S mission. Considering this broad range of users with varying missions, the Playbook promotes the application of privacy and civil liberties controls, data transparency,  and responsible information sharing as stated in the National Strategy for Information Sharing and Safeguarding (https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/2012sharingstrategy_1.pdf) in the creation of an IS&S environment.

The IS&S Environment Playbook can be accessed at http://www.standardscoordination.org/iss-playbook and feedback is definitely encouraged! You can submit your feedback via email at info@standardscoordination.org or complete the structured feedback form online at http://www.standardscoordination.org/content/iss-environment-playbook-structured-feedback.

Tags:  information sharing  interoperability  playbook  standards  standards coordinating council 

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PM-ISE Report to Congress Includes SCC and Project Interoperability

Posted By Ashwini Jarral, Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Program Manager-Information Sharing Environment (PM-ISE) recently provided their annual report to Congress, providing a progress report for the Information Sharing Environments (ISE) across all mission areas and highlighting key accomplishments of partners across federal, state, local, and tribal governments, the private sector, and internationally.

In their report, the IJIS Institute-led Project Interoperability and Standards Coordinating Council get an important mention:

“The ISE is enhancing and advancing the core frameworks developed, refined, and tested through more than a decade of terrorism-related information sharing. The focal point for this line of work is Project Interoperability, which distills, advances, and packages for easier use core ISE information interoperability frameworks, standards, and architectures. Examples include previously noted progress with data standards and semantic interoperability leveraging the National Information Exchange Model and efforts sponsored under the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace, the Federal Chief Information Officers Council, and the National Association State CIOs to advance modern multi-factor identity authentication and attribute-based access control.    These efforts are coordinated via the Standards Coordinating Council (SCC), an advisory group that is aligning these frameworks with the mainstream of international voluntary consensus standards and best practices. Standards-based and shared approaches are an absolute requirement given that the vast majority of targeted agencies are small and lack capacity to participate in the ISE any other way. For example, 90% of the approximate 18,000 law enforcement agencies in the Nation have 50 or fewer sworn officers. PM-ISE sees its goal of aligning public and private efforts as the best and only sustainable way to scale adoption and use of Project Interoperability as key support for scaling the ISE, and expects to see clear, credible, and transparent evidence of Project Interoperability in the domestic architecture efforts described above, augmented by other domain awareness and terrorism-related efforts.”

The release from PM-ISE about the report notes the following:

“The importance of the information sharing environment is clear – U.S. national security and public safety rely upon responsible information sharing that also builds in protection for privacy and civil liberties. Collaboration between all ISE stakeholders is essential to create and sustain a successful ISE. The ISE has demonstrated the power of their capability to share information responsibly across jurisdictional boundaries and disciplines, showing the maturity of the Nation’s capabilities to share information. However, information sharing is a journey, not a destination. Mission requirements evolve, and there are constant challenges in utilizing technology and assuring the appropriate use of vast amounts of information, further complicated by competing priorities. The stage is set for scaling and sustained maturation of the ISE as partners continue to respond to a constantly changing threat environment.”

The IJIS Institute is proud of the accomplishments of Project Interoperability and the Standards Coordinating Council and how that work is contributing to the information sharing journey. I want to offer my thanks for all those IJIS Institute Member companies that have participated with the Institute on these important projects.

See the full PM-ISE report at https://www.ise.gov/resources/document-library/2015-ise-annual-report-congress. Find out more about the Standards Coordinating Council and Project Interoperability at www.standardscoordination.org.

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The Internet of Things (IoT) is transforming the technology landscape.

Posted By Martha Hill, Friday, September 4, 2015

The Internet of Things (IoT) is transforming the technology landscape. From environmental monitoring, transportation and infrastructure management, to manufacturing, health care and building automation, IoT is providing sensing and data sharing capabilities that were unimaginable a decade ago. Now the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) has launched a pilot to apply IoT to the challenge of vastly improving responders’ situational awareness during emergencies. That pilot, the Incident Management Information Sharing (IMIS) Internet of Things Pilot, kicked off at a two-day meeting July 9-10 at the Integrated Justice Information Systems (IJIS) Institute on the campus of the George Washington University Virginia Science and Technology Center.

The IoT is the rapidly expanding network of objects embedded with sensors able to gather, communicate and exchange data with other devices. It includes everything from “smart” household appliances to sensors monitoring traffic flow and municipal water systems. For responder use, new types of low-cost wireless sensors are emerging that can quickly make a wide range of observations of an incident, its environment and its effects on people, including the responders themselves. Among those types are in situ environmental sensors (e.g., temperature, wind, radiation and toxic substance detectors), wearable sensors (e.g., cameras, explosives detectors and vital signs monitors) and imaging sensors (e.g., visible light and infrared cameras) on mobile platforms such as unmanned aerial systems and autonomous vehicles.

Evolving networking technology enables these sensors to connect automatically as soon as they are deployed. Simple connectivity, however, is not enough to meet the needs of emergency responders. Responders require access to continually updated observations, analysis, alerts and predictions from emergency response information systems and mobile devices to ensure they have an accurate shared view of conditions. Many current sensor platforms need too much preplanning and infrastructure set-up to work in rapidly evolving situations. Their nonstandard integration systems can prevent information sharing. Responders need standardized technology that makes sensors easily and immediately identifiable, accessible, usable and useful across all teams and information management platforms involved in an incident response.

Such technology is S&T’s goal.

S&T’s objective is to harness the potential of the IoT as part of its
Next Generation First Responder (NGFR) Apex program. Under its contract with S&T, IJIS is acting as prime contractor on the pilot and has brought the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) and its members onboard to provide the technical expertise required to develop interoperability solutions that employ lightweight, low-cost wireless sensors to support incident response and management. This partnership has enabled S&T to assemble a working group of nine organizations from around the world, including Botts Innovative Research (Huntsville, Alabama), Compusult (Nova Scotia, Canada), Envitia (West Sussex, United Kingdom), GEO Huntsville (Huntsville, Alabama), Noblis (Falls Church, Virginia), Northrup Grumman (McLean, Virginia), SensorUp (Alberta, Canada), the University of Melbourne (Victoria, Australia) and 54 North (Műnster, Germany). Their goal is to develop and demonstrate a prototype IMIS IoT architecture tailored to the real-world requirements of the emergency response community by the end of December 2015.

Acknowledging the extraordinary technical challenge the team faces, NGFR Apex Program Director John Merrill advised team members to “see the world through responders’ eyes” when planning and developing their prototype. He enumerated the unique needs of responders in critical incidents, especially the need to “get the right information to the right person at the right time.” He added that too much or unnecessary information can be a dangerous distraction to responders in emergency situations, and that reliability is essential for any technology to earn and keep responders’ trust. Finally, he focused on integration. “The NGFR Apex program has 40-plus technology projects in the works, and to be useful to the first responder community those technologies all have to work together seamlessly. The necessity for reliability and interoperability,” he said, “makes standards a primary focus and foundation for this pilot program.”

Throughout the two-day meetings, discussions and white board brainstorming enabled the group to refine their understanding of responder requirements. An emergency scenario and associated use cases involving a collision between a train and a chemical tank truck served as a structure for identifying the situational awareness and information exchange challenges responders face. The team identified a wide array of needed sensors, platforms and data technologies required to meet those challenges. A clear road map is in place.

“It’s a really talented team,” said Merrill, “and the proof is going to be when they plug in their prototype in December and it does exactly what it’s expected to.” 

NOTE: This blog first appeared on firstresponder.gov.  It has been reposted with the approval of the Department of Homeland Security.

Tags:  DHS  Homeland Security  information sharing  Internet of Things  IoT 

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IJIS Facilitates Panel at APCO Conference

Posted By James (Jim) W. Dundas Jr., Friday, August 28, 2015
Updated: Monday, August 24, 2015

APCO International is the world’s oldest and largest organization of public safety communications professionals and supports the largest U.S. membership base of any public safety association. It serves the needs of public safety communications practitioners worldwide - and the welfare of the general public as a whole – by providing complete expertise, professional development, technical assistance, advocacy and outreach. I attended this year’s APCO Conference along with Ashwini Jarral, IJIS director of operations. It was held August 16 – 19 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC.

During the conference, IJIS facilitated a panel on cyber security with respect to public safety communications and information systems. The three-member panel discussed wide-ranging cyber issues that can disrupt public safety services, including denial of service (DoS, DDoS) attacks, critical infrastructure disruption, and data security breaches. As U.S. public safety agencies grapple with these issues, another specific area of vulnerability exists relative to opening connections and sharing critical information across public networks in support of national law enforcement and fusion center missions. With the Internet as the medium for sharing this information, the session explored methods for sharing and safeguarding public safety data using national information security standards and advanced information security architectures.

As with previous APCO conferences over the past few years, FirstNet, cyber security, and Next Generation 911 were frequent topics of discussion. The exhibit hall floor this year housed CAD and Land Mobile Radio vendors, consulting and engineering firms, and test equipment suppliers and federal government agencies that operate in the public safety communications space.

Tags:  APCO  cybersecurity  firstnet  NG911 

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RAND Report: Using Future Internet Technologies to Strengthen Criminal Justice

Posted By Andrea A. Walter, Tuesday, August 25, 2015
Updated: Monday, August 24, 2015

Future World Wide Web technologies commonly labeled as being part of Web 3.0 and Web 4.0 could substantially change how the criminal justice enterprise operates. These notably include Semantic Web technologies, intelligent agents, and the Internet of Things. In September 2014, RAND conducted an expert panel for the National Institute of Justice to discuss how the criminal justice community can take advantage of (and reduce the risks from) these emerging technologies. The top unifying theme from the panel was to leverage web technologies to improve information-sharing and protection across the criminal justice enterprise, and to address challenges that the new technologies raise. Another major theme was improving practitioners' knowledge of web technologies. Priorities included general education on key web technologies, and model policies and procedures for using them. A third theme was to improve the networking infrastructure needed to support web technologies (and other applications), especially for courts and corrections. Fourth, several needs became apparent related to leveraging wearable and embedded sensors (part of the Internet of Things), with an emphasis on using sensors to improve officer health and safety. Finally, panelists frequently noted the importance of civil rights, privacy rights, and cybersecurity protections in using the emerging technologies for criminal justice. While there were few needs about these topics specifically, panelists noted that more than half of the needs raised security, privacy, or civil rights concerns, or had implied requirements on these topics. Read the full report online at http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/research_reports/RR900/RR928/RAND_RR928.pdf.

Research Questions

  1. How will web technologies that are just over the horizon, including semantic tagging, intelligent agents, and the Internet of Things (IoT), change how the criminal justice enterprise operates?
  2. How can the criminal justice community take advantage of (and reduce the risks from) these emerging web technologies?

Key Findings

Information-Sharing Must Be Improved

  • There is a need to leverage web technologies to improve information-sharing and protection across the criminal justice enterprise.
  • In addition to leveraging web technologies for information-sharing in general, top priorities included developing a common criminal history record and cataloging scheme; developing real-time language translation capabilities; and developing displays or "dashboards" to meet officers' tailored, dynamic information needs.

Practitioners' Knowledge of New Web Technologies and Their Uses Must Improve

  • Priorities included general education on key web technologies, as well as the model policies and procedures for using them.
  • Panelists also called for procurement checklists and cost-benefit tools for systems acquisition, as well as for policies and procedures to address the anticipated rise of unmanned vehicles.

Infrastructure Must Be Improved

  • The networking infrastructure needs improvement to support web technologies (and other applications), especially for courts and corrections.

Criminal Justice Uses for Emerging Sensors Related to the Internet of Things Should Be Explored

  • Several needs were expressed related to leveraging wearable and embedded sensors (part of the Internet of Things), with an emphasis on using sensors to improve officer health and safety.

Civil Rights, Privacy Rights, and Cybersecurity Protections Must Be Addressed

  • Panelists frequently noted the importance of civil rights, privacy rights, and cybersecurity protections.
  • While few needs about these topics were specifically expressed, panelists noted that more than half of the needs discussed either raised concerns or had implied requirements regarding security, privacy, or civil rights.

Recommendations

  • Partner with the Standards Coordinating Council and constituent information-sharing development efforts to explore how semantic tagging and intelligent agents might be leveraged to expedite information-sharing, with criminal history data as a starting point. Experiment with real-time language technologies.
  • Focus education efforts on: semantic technologies that support finding, accessing, and translating key information; sensor systems for monitoring officer health, officer safety, and maintaining community supervision; video conferencing; and civil rights, privacy rights, and cybersecurity protections.
  • Designate a group to develop law enforcement requirements, policies, and procedures for interfacing with self-driving cars.
  • Develop field experiments with video teleconferencing links for inmate communications and remote education. Pursue novel business models and support to make Internet links more affordable in rural areas.
  • Experiment with health and safety sensor feeds, both wearable and embedded, and with Internet-connected sensor systems to support maintaining the location and tracking of offenders under community corrections supervision.
  • At a strategic level, seek to ensure that civil rights, privacy rights, and cybersecurity protections are built into technology developments, standards, policies, and procedures from the beginning. For intelligent agents that support decisionmaking, research how to ensure the quality of data used to make the decision, and how decisionmakers should use the agents' recommendations. Conduct research to advise on common attributes for policies, procedures, and required protective technologies for sensors related to the Internet of Things.

Source: John S. HollywoodDulani WoodsRichard SilberglittBrian A. Jackson, RAND Research Report, 2015, http://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR928.html

Tags:  criminal justice  cybersecurity  IoT  NIJ  RAND  Standards Coordinating Council 

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The Future of NIBRS – Get Involved!

Posted By Andrea A. Walter, Wednesday, August 19, 2015

There are some Requests for Information (RFIs) out now that will ultimately change the way that the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI’s) National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) works for users. These are two fantastic opportunities for industry solution providers to help shape NIBRS for the future.

Last week, the IJIS Institute posted a RFI intended to initiate a dialogue between our National Crime Statistics Exchange (NCS-X) team and industry solution providers. Through the RFI, IJIS seeks to identify what the market has to offer to allow users in the field to visualize and interact with national crime incident data compiled in NIBRS.

In 2012, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) launched the NCS-X to generate detailed national estimates of the volume and characteristics of crimes known to law enforcement based on NIBRS data. NCS-X is designed to help a sample of 400 local agencies implement efficient and minimally-burdensome processes to collect and extract incident-based data from their existing records management systems for submission to NIBRS. A team of organizations that includes the IJIS Institute is responsible for developing the implementation plans for NCS-X. This includes coordinating efforts with local law enforcement, state reporting programs, and the software industry. More information on the NCS-X program can be found on the BJS website at http://www.bjs.gov/content/ncsx.cfm.

The purpose of the IJIS Institute RFI is to identify options that would allow users in the field to visualize and interact with NIBRS data with two end goals:

Facilitate the ability of law enforcement agencies to understand their crime patterns and trends in the context of crime in nearby and other similar jurisdictions. The inclusion of ancillary data, such as the American Community Survey (ACS), will be used to provide contextual data on demographics, social setting, and community well-being. These data will facilitate understanding of crime and its socioeconomic correlates.

Allow the public to interact with crime incident data in an intuitive and easy to use manner. Although these data are currently publicly accessible, access has historically been cumbersome or required technical experience with relational databases and geospatial analysis. The proposed analytics dashboard will streamline these functions and make incident-based crime data accessible to a wider audience.

For more information, please visit the Opportunities page and download the RFI. Responses are due by 9/10.

This week, the IJIS Institute posted the RFI released by the FBI Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division, Law Enforcement Support Section (LESS), Crime Data Modernization (CDM) Team. This RFI is requesting information for a NIBRS Modernization study.

The FBI Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program is a nationwide, cooperative statistical effort of over 16,000 city, university and college, county, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement agencies (LEAs) voluntarily reporting data on offenses reported or known. Since 1930, the FBI has administered the UCR Program and continues to assess and monitor the nature and type of crime in the nation. The Program’s primary objective is to generate reliable and valid information for use in law enforcement administration, operation, and management. The CDM Team has been tasked with an FBI Director’s Priority Initiative (DPI) to establish one, uniform crime statistics reporting standard, known as the NIBRS for local, state, tribal, and federal LEAs, and provide richer data to inform, educate, and strengthen communities. The move toward increased NIBRS participation will generate the pathway to greater data collection and will improve the nation’s crime statistics for reliability, accuracy, accessibility, and timeliness of the data. This effort will be achieved by transitioning local, state, and tribal LEAs from the Summary Reporting System (SRS) to the NIBRS.

The desired outcome the CDM Team wishes to achieve is to sunset the SRS and then replace it with the NIBRS, as the national standard for crime reporting. FBI Director James B. Comey has publicly announced his support for the NIBRS to be the national standard for crime reporting nationwide by local, state, tribal, and federal LEAs

Interested parties in the industry can submit a proposal for a research strategy to assess the current business practices and policies employed by local, state, tribal, and federal LEAs and how they compare with the requirements to transition these LEAs from the SRS to the NIBRS for purposes of collecting crime statistics. Additionally, these tasks will determine if the NIBRS meets current policing needs in its present state or requires modernization.

For more information, please visit the Opportunities page and download the RFI. Responses are due by 9/2.

Tags:  FBI  NCS-X  NIBRS  RFI 

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