US intelligence agencies are preparing to launch their own social networking site, codenamed A-Space. Unfortunately for us non-spooks, we won’t get to see it because it’s going to be an internal tool.
However, members of the intelligence community are divided over the benefits of having such a social network (quoting the linked FT article):
A female employee who had arranged a high-school reunion on MySpace asked why the community had not created a similar tool. That prompted a response that she wasnâ€™t thinking big enough. But Mr Wertheimer says two other people immediately jumped in with concerns about a â€œcounter-intelligence nightmareâ€ that could cost US lives.
â€œThat is very typical within the intelligence community of the approach to social networking tools,â€ says Mr Wertheimer. â€œThe positive value isâ€¦not easily quantified. The negative, the risk for people under coverâ€¦ is drawn out so starkly, even though it is speculative, that they tend to carry the day.â€
But he says the intelligence community needs to consider that not sharing information can also cost lives, a lesson learned from the 9/11 attacks.