Help the FBI with its technology woes!

The Washington Post has a fine article chronicling the failure of a massively expensive project to bring the FBI’s case management system into the 21st century.

Question for Science Blog readers: What fanciful off-the-shelf tools might the FBI use, from the MySpace backend to Blogger to GMail and Google News even, to quickly get a workable solution into place and make tracking down bad guys easier?

Comment below.

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2 thoughts on “Help the FBI with its technology woes!”

  1. A little freeform thinking here. First, let’s assume the system will grow in content over time. You won’t have every archived case report from 1956 in the system from day one. But new reports will be filed with it, electronically.

    Seems you’d want to have at heart, a bigass database, the kind that can hold millions of unique records, with thousands more added daily. Something like … what an Amazon.com has, only for crooks not books. (Rhymes; neat.) Like amazon, each record can include text, audio, video, etc. attachments.

    You’d also want each special agent to have their own TypePad-type homepage where they update what’s happening on their investigations, and where other SAs can drop in and get an update and add comments.

    You’d want a certain amount of machine-managed filtering, the kind Google excels at. What with all your “connecting the dots” mythology. And don’t get me wrong; data mining is legit. But at the end of the day, it seems like a Wikipedia model’s likely to be of more use. Agents are experts in their cases. And their collective and humanly updated/debated/corrected thoughts will, I’m guessing, be what helps breaks cases. In other words, use the technology to help the gumshoes do their jobs, rather than try to make software that will do it for them.

    Of course, I’m utterly unqualified to judge any of this, but what the heck?

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