Spies Like Us
In most people’s mind, Secret Services belong to a mysterious world, where technology is beyond belief and all instruments and tools are far from ordinary.
Yet drawing parallel between the activities we carry out in our business companies (but also in our leisure time) and those of a spy can be quite surprising.
In the field of information management, we have more in common with Intelligence than we can imagine:
• finding the most correct data and clues;
• sharing and spreading knowledge in the most effective way.
You may already know about “A-Space”, a project of social networking promoted by the Intelligence Community with the goal of improving the quality of intelligence and promoting information sharing.
“A” stands for “Analysts” (that is to say secret agents) and “Space” echoes a famous Web 2.0 site: MySpace.
A-Space will take part in Intellipedia (a group of 3 top-secret Wikis, with a name based on the famous Wikipedia), whose members come from 16 different secret agencies.
Only one year and a half has passed since its creation and Intellipedia already contains more than 29,000 articles, with an average of 114 new articles everyday and more than 4,800 changes to already existing material.
It’s interesting and promising to see how specific tools of Web 2.0 can contribute to the solution of problems connected to information sharing (also at a global level) in the field of intelligence. But the new thing here is the association of Intelligence with web sites such as Facebook and MySpace, very user friendly and, typically, used by young people.
“Logged In and Sharing Gossip, er, Intelligence”, New York Times.
“Spies and teenagers normally have little in common but that is about to change as America’s intelligence agencies prepare to launch “A-Space”, an internal communications tool modelled on the popular social networking sites, Facebook and MySpace”, Financial Times.
The problems of search and integrated management of information, caused mainly by technological limits, are the same for everyone: agents and secret services, companies and common people. But of course the needs and the objectives are different, and certainly also the risks and complexity of the situations to be faced.
Therefore, the approach to solve such problems is different, in terms of concreteness and speed.