A Tech Partnership with Private Sector Could Help Improve Security in U.S.

WebCrawler_smallAn article in today’s New York Times, entitled “Hillary Clinton Asks Tech Companies to Help Thwart ISIS Online,” ends with the following statement:

“The Department of Homeland Security does not routinely monitor Facebook and other social media websites in its background check process, nor does the State Department.”

Really? Before we ban all Muslims, as Donald Trump proposes, or just put up insurmountable roadblocks as contained in The SAFE Act of 2015, recently passed by the House (see recent TDV blog post: An Open Letter to Congressman Norcross on Mideast Refugees), perhaps we should think about doing some obvious things, like including a review of social media in background checks for those entering the country?

Seems like that should be pretty straight-forward just using Google search or, if you want to get a bit more sophisticated, automated web crawling technology that has existed for years. But apparently keeping up with technology is a stretch for Federal officials in the Departments of State and Homeland Security.

Hillary has a point: The Federal bureaucracy seems to need all the help it can get to move into the 21st century.  As a proposal, perhaps Federal agencies could partner with tech companies to improve technology and help the government operate more efficiently.  Given the NSA’s record, there would have to safeguards to address privacy concerns.

This seems like a much better approach than simply adding additional layers of Federal bureaucracy to the screening process, as proposed in the SAFE act.