Homework topic: Data Base
Challenge Founded in 2011, Skycaps Cloud Services is sharply focused on public-sector The FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center, or TSC, was established to consolidate information about suspected terrorists from multiple government agencies into a single list to enhance inter-agency communication. A database of suspected terrorists known as the terrorist watch list was created. Multiple U.S. government agencies had been maintaining separate lists and these agencies lacked a consistent process to share relevant information. Records in the TSC database contain sensitive but unclassified information on terrorist identities, such as name and date of birth, that can be shared with other screening agencies. Classified information about the people in the watch list is maintained in other law enforcement and intelligence agency databases. Recrds for the watchlist database are provided by two sources: The National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) managed by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence provides identifying information on individuals with ties to international terrorism. The FBI provides identifying information on individuals with ties to purely domestic terrorism. These agencies collect and maintain terrorist information and nominate individuals for inclusion in the TSC’s consolidated watch list. They are required to follow strict procedures established by the head of the agency concerned and approved by the U.S. Attorney General. TSC staff must review each record submitted before it is added to the database. An individual will remain on the watch list until the respective department or agency that nominated that person to the list determines that the person should be removed from the list and deleted from the database The TSC watch list database is updated daily with new nominations, modifications to existing records, and deletions. Since its creation, the list has ballooned to 400,000 people, recorded as 1.1 million names and aliases, and is continuing to grow at a rate of 200,000 records each year. Information on the list is distributed to a wide range of government agency systems for use in efforts to deter or detect the movements of known or suspected terrorists. Recipient agencies include the FBI, CIA, National Security Agency (NSA), Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Department of Homeland Security, State Department, Customs and Border I 240 Part Two Information Technology Infrastructure Protection, Secret Service, U.S. Marshals Service, and the White House. Airlines use data supplied by the TSA system in their NoFly and Selectee lists for prescreening passengers, while the U.S. Customs and Border Protection system uses the watchlist data to help screen travelers entering the United States. The State Department system screens applicants for visas to enter the United States and U.S. residents applying for passports, while state and local law enforcement agencies use the FBI system to help with arrests, detentions, and other criminal justice activities. Each of these agencies receives the subset of data in the watch list that pertains to its specific mission. When an individual makes an airline reservation, arrives at a U.S. port of entry, applies for a U.S. visa, or is stopped by state or local police within the United States, the frontline screening agency or airline conducts a name-based search of the individual against the records from the terrorist watch list database. When the computerized name-matching system generates a “hit” (a potential name match) against a watch list record, the airline or agency will review each potential match. Matches that are clearly positive or exact matches that are inconclusive (uncertain or difficult to verify) are referred to the applicable screening agency’s intelligence or operations center and to the TSC for closer examination. In turn, TSC checks its databases and other sources, including classified databases maintained by the NCTC and FBI to confirm whether the individual is a positive, negative, or inconclusive match to the watch list record. TSC creates a daily report summarizing all positive matches to the watch list and distributes them to numerous federal agencies. The process of consolidating information from disparate agencies has been a slow and painstaking one, requiring the integration of at least 12 different databases. Two years after the process of integration took place, 10 of the 12 databases had been processed. The remaining two databases (the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Automatic Biometric Identification System and the FBI’s Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System) are both fingerprint databases. There is still more work to be done to optimize the list’s usefulness. Reports from both the Government Accountability Office and the Office of the Inspector General assert that the list contains inaccuracies and that government departmental policies for nomination and removal from the lists are not uniform. There has also been public outcry resulting from the size of the list and well-publicized incidents of obvious non-terrorists finding that they are included on the list. Information about the process for inclusion on the list must necessarily be carefully protected if the list is to be effective against terrorists. The specific criteria for inclusion are not public knowledge. We do know, however, that government agencies populate their watch lists by performing wide sweeps of information gathered on travelers, using many misspellings and alternate variations of the names of suspected terrorists. This often leads to the inclusion of people who do not belong on watch lists, known as “false positives.” It also results in some people being listed multiple times under different spellings of their names. While these selection criteria may be effective for tracking as many potential terrorists as possible, they also lead to many more erroneous entries on the list than if the process required more finely tuned information to add new entries. Notable examples of ‘false positives’ include Michael Hicks, an 8-year-old New Jersey Cub Scout who is continually stopped at the airport for additional screening and the late senator Ted Kennedy, who had been repeatedly delayed in the past because his name resembles an alias once used by a suspected terrorist. Like Kennedy, Hicks may have been added because his name is the same or similar to a different suspected terrorist. These incidents call attention to the quality and accuracy of the data in the TSC consolidated terrorist watch list. In June 2005, a report by the Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General found inconsistent record counts, duplicate records, and records that lacked data fields or had unclear sources for their data. Although TSC subsequently enhanced its efforts to identify and correct incomplete or inaccurate watch list records, the Inspector General noted in September 2007 that TSC management of the watch list still showed some weaknesses. Given the option between a list that tracks every potential terrorist at the cost of unnecessarily tracking some innocents, and a list that fails to track many terrorists in an effort to avoid tracking innocents, many would choose the list that tracked every terrorist despite the drawbacks. But to make matters worse for those already inconvenienced by wrongful inclusion on the list, there is currently no simple and quick redress process for innocents that hope to remove themselves from it. The number of requests for removal from the watch list continues to mount, with over 24,000 requests recorded (about 2,000 each month) and only 54 percent of them resolved. The average time to process a request in 2008 was 40 days, which was not (and still is not) fast enough to keep pace with the number of requests for removal coming in.
a. Analyze weaknesses of the watch list. What management, organization, and technology factors are responsible for these weaknesses? (first write what is watch list, second write in what basis the watch list prepared, third you have to make a heading of the weaknesses and in this weakness for example one of the weaknesses about the typical errors and why these typical errors acquired and because of these typical errors what are the main problems will acquire. So when you talk about each weakness you have to say the weakness and why it acquired and because of this weakness what are the main problems will acquire. So you have to mention 5 weaknesses).
b. Assume that you were responsible for the management of the TSC watch list database, recommend steps that would you take to correct some of these weaknesses.
(here you have to write the solutions for the above weaknesses)