Social Software and National Security: An Initial Net Assessment   [open pdf - 916KB]

"Social software connects people and information via online, informal Internet networks. It is appearing in increasingly diverse forms as part of a broad movement commonly called Web 2.0. Resulting social connections are typically serendipitous and can bring unexpected benefits. New social software technologies offer organizations increased agility, adaptiveness, interoperability, efficiency and effectiveness. Social software can be used by governments for content creation, external collaboration, community building, and other applications. The proliferation of social software has ramifications for U.S. national security, spanning future operating challenges of a traditional, irregular, catastrophic, or disruptive nature. Failure to adopt these tools may reduce an organization's relative capabilities over time. Globally, social software is being used effectively by businesses, individuals, activists, criminals, and terrorists. Governments that harness its potential power can interact better with citizens and anticipate emerging issues. Security, accountability, privacy, and other concerns often drive national security institutions to limit the use of open tools such as social software, whether on the open web or behind government information system firewalls. Information security concerns are very serious and must be addressed, but to the extent that our adversaries make effective use of such innovations, our restrictions may diminish our national security. We have approached this research paper as an initial net assessment of how social software interacts with government and security in the broadest sense."

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National Defense University Center for Technology and National Security Policy: http://www.ndu.edu/ctnsp/
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