Case Study: Ch. 7
Database Woes Plague Homeland Security and Law Enforcement
It is important to connect as much of the data in many of the federal, state, and local information systems because it will help stop future attacks and events to happen to the United States. After September 11, the federal government created a new cabinet called the homeland security. The cabinet has a database of thousands of federal, state and local organizations. They collect as much of the information necessary to combat future terrorist attacks as well as fight domestic crime. Bringing together this information to make them useful for fighting terrorism and crime is provided to be an immense task. Ben Gianni, the vice president of the homeland security of computer sciences corporation, says, "We must do this in order for these agencies to collect, analyze and disseminate information about suspected terrorist activities."
Bringing data together from all different organizations is a major data management problem. One of the most important pieces of data is to tack terrorist activity through these three organizations, the Immigration Naturalization Service (INS), Customs, and the Coast Guard. All three collect and store data on people and products that enter the United States. Bringing some of those data together would be useful for defending the country. However, these organizations have many databases, most of which are old and have been created independently. They have different computing platforms, data names, data definitions, data sizes, and data files. This is a problem that many global corporations have been addressing for years. Many are managing to interconnect their multitude of data systems, but it has been both time consuming and very costly. The FBI culture has been a mind-set to keep information to itself, a problem highlighted by and after 9/11. New York's senator Charles Schumer said, "One of the worst kept secrets in law enforcement is...