Media research group Markle Foundation is joining forces with two Washington, D.C., think thanks -- the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and the Brookings Institution -- to form an independent, multi-sector task force to determine how information and technology can enhance national security.

The Task Force on National Security in the Information Age is co-chaired by Markle Foundation president Zoe Baird and former Netscape Communications chairman James Barksdale. It will include leaders from industry, government and the civil liberties community. Participants include EdVenture Holdings chairman Esther Dyson; Sun Microsystems chief researcher John Gage, Gov. Mike Leavitt of Utah and former National Security Agency deputy director Bill Crowell.

Over the next year, the group will release policy and briefing papers, provide information on promising technologies, and inform government officials.

The ultimate goal is to produce a broad and coherent strategic vision that will allow the U.S. government, in collaboration with industry and civil society, to meet the challenge of the new security environment in an information age.

"Information is the key to a more secure society. As we expand the role of information collection and sharing, let's be sure we also protect the democratic freedoms that make our society worth securing," said Baird. "This task force is the kind of broad, multi-sectoral effort needed to address these imperatives and create a viable framework for moving forward."

The task force will make recommendations regarding:

  • Technologies that enable the more effective collection and sharing of information in response to new security threats
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  • Aligning governmental structures and rules with the more information-intensive approach needed to counteract new security threats
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  • Balancing the expansion of information's role in national security with safeguards for civil liberties - particularly in the privacy realm
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  • Strategies for deploying information more effectively for law enforcement, intelligence and homeland defense
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  • The role of the private sector in designing and implementing an information-based national security response, and the level of collaboration between private and public sectors
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    "New technologies, applied appropriately, can effectively transform our ability to meet the security challenges of the 21st century," said John Hamre, president of CSIS. "This task force will develop the comprehensive conceptual framework that is needed to identify the information gaps and drive a strategy for remedying them."

    This story was first published on dc.internet.com, an internet.com site.