Terrorism feeds on fear and disorganization. In today’s world, small groups of organized terrorists can weave through a powerful nation’s defenses and cause havoc, as we have seen recently. Terrorism counts on being able to attack disconnected points in a system so that it cannot be traced. If our government is able to gather assorted data in an integrated fashion, it can counter future terrorist activity more effectively. For example, an invaluable tool for counter-terrorism would be an integrated government database that maintains suspicious profile information from a combination of government agency sources such as FBI watch-list profiles, DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) criminal activity, NIA (National Immigration Agency) overstayed visa information, CIA public threat warnings, NSA (National Security Agency) suspicious activities, as well as other government and commercial enterprises involved in possible terrorist activity.

Is it possible to create such as database? Can government agencies (and appropriate commercial enterprises such as airlines) share such sensitive information in a collaborative fashion? If government agencies collaboratively created national profiles of people, would the public be outraged over the government having “Big Brother” profiles of people? Does national profiling raise other security issues such as creating potential gold mines of information for technology thieves? Could complete profiles of people be misused and misinterpreted? What parties should be included in a national profiling system? If it is only parties who have had suspicious activities that are linked to possible government threats, how do we define the business rules to identify who should be included within such an integrated information system?

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