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US Security Classifications Needs Re-Thinking, Says Board 76

Posted by timothy
from the this-post-is-ultra-double-secret-probation-only dept.
coondoggie writes "The U.S. government's overly complicated way of classifying and declassifying information needs to be dumped and reinvented with the help of a huge technology injection if it is to keep from being buried under its own weight. That was one of the main conclusions of a government board tasked with making recommendations on exactly how the government should transform the current security classification system (PDF)."
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US Security Classifications Needs Re-Thinking, Says Board

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  • Re:Revamp time (Score:5, Interesting)

    by alexander_686 (957440) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @05:50PM (#42209081)

    The founding fathers 1. distrusted parties and 2. distrusted the mobs of democracy. The idea was that people would choose wise men who would chose the president. This happened once with the election of Washington – and never again.

    It was also supposed to give smaller states more weight and it sort of works for that.

    It works less well when you have states that are persistently blue / red - which would have left them aghast.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 06, 2012 @07:05PM (#42210025)

    The classification system, as written, is actually pretty decent--information should only be classified under specific circumstances and for a limited duration. How it's applied in practice is not; information is often restricted because people are worried that they might get in trouble for releasing too much, because they don't want scrutiny from the public or other government agencies or even divisions within the same agency, or just because they want control. I don't see how technology solves any of these problem--it's generally a good thing that classified information is need-to-know only, so widespread data sharing and indexing just isn't feasible for most kinds of classified data. Classified data requirements generally aren't too onerous and do a good job keeping classified systems airgapped from unclassified systems.

    I think the best solution is to enforce the rules we have in place, and require a higher standard to be met to classify data. The executive isn't going to do this; perhaps Congress needs to impose some limited oversight. That said, I don't trust Congress to do a better job these days, either. American society values perceived security way above government transparency these days; and the way the classification system is interpreted today is a direct result of how values have changed in this country. Things won't get better until the American people stop being afraid and start being critical of their government again.

If you think the system is working, ask someone who's waiting for a prompt.

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