Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

November 19, 2009

Web 2.0 Technologies and Tools: A Very Brief Guide For Decision Makers

Filed under: General Homeland Security,Technology for HLS — by Christopher Bellavita on November 19, 2009

Today’s guest blogger is Glen Woodbury. The issue — pictured in the spectrum below —  is how homeland security decision makers can think about their options to handle web 2.0 (or 3.0, 4.0, etc.) technologies and tools.

( The material in this  post was developed out of discussion at the OGMA Workshop held at the NPS Center for Homeland Defense and Security 30 June – 1 July, 2009 in Monterey, CA.)


Suppress – An organization issues policies or directorates that forbid the use of a particular technology. For example, an agency issues a prohibition on their employees’ ability to access Facebook. Or an intelligence fusion center forbids its analysts from accessing social networks due to civil liberty and privacy concerns.

Defer – (ignore, abstain, dismiss) An organization decides to not use or not engage in technologies or tools even though their use is evident in their operating environment. For example, a public safety agency decides not to observe or utilize Twitter, Facebook, blogs, or other information sources even though they know that these forums are providing information to the public they are serving. Or the agency determines that engagement in a particular social networking information source would strip resources away from other requirements.

Adapt (Reactive) – An organization observes the use of technologies and tools in their environment and decides to adjust its policies and procedures in order to participate in the same technological environment. For example, a fire agency discovers that the public is relying or acting on information from Twitter sources, so it decides to enter Twitter forums and generate its own content.

Adopt (Proactive) – An organization decides, in advance of an event, to use technologies and tools that already exist and are being utilized in the public domain. For example, a police department decides, and plans for, the use of Facebook to provide information to the general public during a planned mass gathering event.

Influence – An organization deliberately influences how a particular technology or tool is being used, maintained or operated. For example, a public health agency asks a technology provider to delay scheduled maintenance on its system so that important information can be delivered to the public at a certain time. Or the same agency asks the technology company to change a characteristic of its technology to better serve the requirements of the agency.

Design – An organization determines requirements that might be served by new technologies and tools and seeks a design and production of a system to serve those needs. For example, an emergency management agency desires a new way to hold collaborative planning discussions in a virtual environment and engages with a technology provider to build the product.

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Comment by William R. Cumming

November 19, 2009 @ 2:00 am

I read a book a while back and believe author was James Burke of PBS “Connections” fame. Called the “Gift of the Axe” or perhaps “The Axeman’s Gift” discusses the two edged sword of technological developments. The AXE clearly was a revolutionary new development in pre-history or neolithic times. Was the eventual destruction of most of the earth’s forests within the contemplation of mankind then or even now. Hey the chain saw may have enhanced global warming more than any other technology. Have no idea. In the US perhaps of interest is that 90% of all cuttable timber is now –today–in the 11 STATES of the old Confederacy. Remarkable perhaps not given faster growing conditions. But does indicate what the other STATES and FEDERAL government has done to protect the nation’s forests. There is another analysis out that compares the first world with the 3rd world and indicates “forests” are in fact one essential difference between the two. Interestingly Scotland and Greece started to have their forests disappear apparently is the last 6-8000 years so largely treeless today. Mankind and the AXE? Yes a tree hugger here. So the virtual world is only now revolutionizing communications and its complexity. Even the revolution of 24/7/365 news has not been totally absorbed by those involved in Emergency Public Information or even properly researched. Its advent in 1982 will be just 30 years old around the corner. It does appear that AQ and other terrorist organizations are technologically fluent. IED often triggered by cell phone, and an example.

Comment by woodbury

January 1, 2013 @ 2:09 pm

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