Magazine article Information Management

FBI Dumps Information-Sharing Software

Magazine article Information Management

FBI Dumps Information-Sharing Software

Article excerpt

A $170 million computer overhaul intended to give Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents and analysts an instantaneous, paperless way to exchange information about criminal cases and terrorism threats is going back to the drawing board and may cost U.S. taxpayers even more. The FBI said the system, known as Virtual Case File, is seriously deficient and will be largely abandoned before it is launched.

The database project was supposed to give the FBI's nearly 12,000 agents around the country instant access to the agency's databases, allowing speedier investigations and better integration of information within the bureau and with other intelligence agencies that must coordinate national security matters. It was meant to provide ways for FBI agents, analysts, and other personnel worldwide to share information about investigations, including terrorism cases, without using paper or resorting to time-consuming document scanning. Under the current system, for example, all FBI terrorism documents are loaded into a central database each night.

The project has been riddled with technical and planning problems due largely to the expensive customized software it relies on, said FBI officials. The Virtual Case File software was supposed to be custom built to maximize the safety and security of information. …

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