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Commentary

Trust: You Should Bank On It

Ruth David thinks a lot about information sharing; she just doesn't like to use the term.
Ruth David thinks a lot about information sharing; she just doesn't like to use the term.A former deputy director for science and technology at the CIA, David is CEO of ANSER, a think tank that tackles homeland security and international matters. She suggests that focusing on the term information sharing-a massive challenge in government-distracts from a task that can make it possible: developing trust among parties.

Speaking Tuesday at the Government Information Technology Executive Council's conference in Orlando, David said an impediment of information sharing is deciding what information should be shared and with whom. "If we're going to think of that in a more agile ways, We have to figure out how to establish trust, between individuals, and between individuals and information," she said in an interview after her presentation. Listen to excerpt of the David interview.

David offers a model for such trust: the ATM network. "It's a simplistic model, not terribly secure, but it's widely used and accepted," she said. It's that kind of mindset architects need to adopt to assure information sharing. "I take an ATM card and put in a machine in London and it draws money from my account in Virginia," David said, noting that the system authenticates not only who she is but has enough money in her bank account to cover the withdrawal. "That's not terribly secure, but it's widely used and accepted. … It trusts me enough to give me what I ask for."

You can bank on it.

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