Concerns about social media engagement and security clearances … continued

Posted by Kathleen Smith

Yesterday, the Homeland Security Blog did up a good post entitled “Facebook and Twitter can be dangerous to your security clearance’s health.” The blog post referenced a November 2, 2009 article which we actually wrote about here.

When we saw the Homeland Security Blog post link circulating on Twitter, we thought it may be a good idea to expand on our November 3 post with the following commentary:

Concerns about maintaining clearances about for those who socially engage

Yes, professionals with security clearances have many concerns when it comes to maintaining their clearances. These are professionals who we have entrusted the security of many levels of classified information to and they have been provided training, support and continual guidance on how to maintain their security cleared status both online and offline. It is unfortunate that there are a few incidents which tend skew the veiwpoint that these professionals are easy targets to foreign intelligence agencies.

Yes, you can engage and keep your clearance … it’s all about what YOU share and where

There are many people, many more people than you realize, that have security clearances and do actively participate in social networks at many levels both in an open community and closed communities. These security cleared professionals do the same things that many other professionals do online in these social networks — they monitor their interactions, share information with approved sources and are diligent about the way they interact within these communities.

Finding a comfortable balance

As government agencies move to utilize and leverage these social networks to collaborate with others inside the government and to respond to citizen requests, professionals with security clearances are going to have to be more comfortable using these tools and operating in an open social community — just as they do in the offline world.

Risks and lack of training

One of the founding principles of communities is that they can be and for the most part are self governing. Each individual armed with the proper knowledge and training can operate within in a community and be able to evaluate the benefits and the risks.

A challenge with so many in the security cleared world is that for many of them they have not been provided training or guidance on how to operate that actual tools such as privacy controls or evaluating invitations that they don’t participate in the communities at all. This is a dissservice to them and the communities they could participate in.

I hope that those who are of the mindset that they “can’t” participate in social networks without jeapordazing their security clearance will at least take a second look. Social networks are ripe with opportunities, information and possibilities … especially for job seekers who are challenged with making meaningful connections with propective employers.

What are your thoughts?

This entry was posted on Wednesday, November 18, 2009 6:49 pm

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