Information is one of the most sensitive assets of any organization. In law enforcement and national security organizations, information is more sensitive since its poor handling may have very serious repercussions.
It is thus within the mandate of such organizations to put controls that will ensure that information is properly collected, and also ensure that it is properly and securely stored in order to remove all loopholes left for leakage of sensitive information. This paper is an investigation of the reasonable restrictions on collection and storage of information in law enforcement and national security organizations.
With the rising popularity of Information Technology, organizations have embraced the use of IT in collection and storage of information. Law enforcement and national security organizations are no exception.
These organizations have however adopted limits for application of facilities provided by Information Technology for collection and storage of information. As a means of data collection, the aforementioned organizations may use interactive websites to get information from identified individuals. This means that the internet will be actively used for such activities.
The internet is normally a security threat for electronic collection and storage of information. This calls for a mechanism of ensuring that no unauthorized people access the information and that no unauthorized people can give information. Law enforcement and security organizations have thus employed a number of controls to achieve this. They include the use of computer software to identify unauthorized attempts by users who may want to either give information or access collected information (McHenry, 2010, p. 1).
For the information collected with, or stored in, hard copy documents, several regulations are employed in order to ensure its safety. For instance, there is the need to know principle applied in national security organizations. Information may be collected from people who are not even required to know how the information will be used (Waldo, 2007, p. 103).
In such a case, the people involved in the collection of the information are supposed to cite national security as their reason for secrecy and ensure that no information leaks get to the informants.
For storage, national security organizations use clearance protocols which are normally printed on the specific documents depending on the security requirement of the document. Some of the clearances include Top Secret, Confidential, etc (“Privacy and Security”, 2010, p. 1). The clearances are given to officials within the organization depending on their rank in the organization.
Although achieving information security may prove to be an impossible task, law enforcement and national security organizations have a number of reasonable restrictions that reduce the possibility of information leakage. These restrictions have enabled such organizations to safeguard information that could, otherwise, fall into wrong hands and cause a lot of damage.
However, the most important part of any security system is the people involved in the operations of the organization. Any attempt to secure information by using controls that do not consider people as a central part of the security system may prove to be futile even after implementation of proper restrictions on the information.
It is, therefore, of essence to ensure that officials of such organizations, who have clearance to access Top Secret information, are properly informed of the sensitivity of such information. They should also be properly secured in order to phase out the possibility of kidnapping and coercion which could compromise information security.
Freedom of Information Act. (2010). Privacy and Security. Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved November 18, 2010, from, http://www.foia.cia.gov/privacy.asp
McHenry, K. (2010). Privacy, Law Enforcement, and National Security. Retrieved November 18, 2010, from, http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=11896&page=251
Waldo, J. (2007). Engaging Privacy and Information Technology in a Digital Age. California. Wadsworth Publishers.