This book is a perfect complement to Anne Branscomb's, and provides a well-told tale, researched in partnership with a private investigator, of just what can be gotten on you through the electronic web within which we all live our lives. This book is the tactical gutter in your face version, Branscomb's book is the academic dissection.
What Universities Might Do Better for Their Communities,
April 7, 2000
Mary Lindenstein Walshok
An industrial sociologist by training, now Associate Vice Chancellor for Extended Studies and Public Service at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), Walshok begins by challenging universities, exploring the social uses of knowledge, assessing the new knowledge needs of diverse populations, and providing a matrix approach to matching university resources to community knowledge needs. In the second half of the book she focuses on special economic, human, and civic benefits, and ends with her bottom line: neither communities, nor universities, can learn in isolation.
I was given this book at Hacker's (the MIT/Silicon Valley legal and largely very rich group, of which I am an elected member) by a NASA engineer, went to bed, could not get the book out of mind, got up, and read it through the night. If it were not for the fact that Intelink is largely useless to the rest of the world and soon to be displaced by my own and other “extranets”, this book would be triumphal. As it is, I consider it an extremely good baseline for understanding the good and the bad of how the U.S. Intelligence Community addresses the contradictions between needing access to open sources and emerging information technologies while maintaining its ultra-conservative views on maintaining very restricted access controls to everything and everyone within its domain. I have enormous regard for what these folks accomplished, and wish they had been able to do it openly, for a much larger “virtual intelligence community” willing and able to share information. For a spy, information shared is information lost-until they get over this, and learn that information not only increases in value with dissemination but is also a magnet for 100 pieces of information that would never have reached them otherwise, the U.S. Intelligence Community will continue to be starved for both information and connectivity….an SGML leper in an XML world.
Solid Basic of Starting an Information Brokering Business,
April 7, 2000
In contrast to Mary Ellen's book, this book is actually for self-starters who are thinking about creating their own small business and covers such excellent basics as the market for information, what an information broker does, the pros and cons of the information business, and then the tools, followed by chapters on marketing, pricing, and project management. Although seven years old now, I still regard this as a good starting point for those who would understand the information brokering business (a small niche within the larger open source intelligence business).
This is an even-tempered book, combining a good primer of the nature of the intelligence process with some analytically-oriented thoughts on needed improvements. Their appendix listing things that can go wrong at each step of the intelligence cycle is of lasting value, as is their glossary. Their forthcoming book, Best Truth: Intelligence in the Information Age (Yale, April 2000) will assuredly be a major contribution.
This is an excellent elementary text for the average college student. Over-all it is strong on issues of analysis, policy, and oversight, and weak on collection, covert action, and counterintelligence. The chapter on collection has a useful figure comparing the advantages and disadvantages of the five collection disciplines, and but does not get into the detail that this aspect of the intelligence community-80% of the annual expense-merits.
Mark is arguably America's foremost intelligence historian, and especially strong on analysis and oversight. The seventy-page bibliography he has put together is useful. There are other much longer annotated bibliographies, but this one reflects value in its selection and conciseness.