Monday, November 05, 2007

What's your greatest fear?

First, here's an update on the Cop Connection Network. We have a presence on a growing number of social networking sites. Check any of these out, and if you qualify, join the group:

The Cop Connection Network

The Cop Connection Network is an invitation-only network where cops can meet others in the field that are available to assist them in the future (like what should happen when you go to a conference). It's made for cops, by cops, to do what has yet to be done -- help with investigations, networking, training, grant-writing, policy drafting and collaboration.

We're contacting every police officer, sheriff's deputy, corrections officer, jailer, probation and parole officer, trooper, security guard, and anyone in a related field around the planet (and other planets if they have an Internet connection) and telling them about the Cop Connection Network.

As has been noted elsewhere, my understanding of the "network" in social networks means a parole officer in Michigan on LinkedIn could request an introduction to a police officer in Brazil via InMail, that travels via a Corrections Officer on Facebook (Mobile) in Sweden, who emails the message to a jailer in New Zealand he met on MySpace, who calls his retired friend in Arizona using jaxtr or Grand Central who sends an SMS text message using Skype to the guy in Brazil . . . in under an hour.

I don't plan to limit the Cop Connection Network to one site, because I expect (soon) the development of a cross-platform management program, and in the interim, I have the time to check the various locations and get/re-post messages. Think of the Cop Connection network as a headquarters for policing, corrections, and the courts. Each of the above sites are like precincts or satellite offices. We've already got Google opening the cross-platform communications mode with OpenSocial. And there are many developers working on an aggregator for users. Next, I think there will be one for groups, and we'll be there! And dare we ask for this to be a mobile solution, too? I cannot wait to be invited to participate in the mashup of Dashwire and ProfileLinker!

In the development of this network, my biggest concern is that we have secure access for social networking. This has been a concern in the social networking space for at least four years (more like a thousand in human years), as documented by SecurityFocus. I'm the webmaster on several police-related websites, and I cannot tell you in (publicly used) words how frustrating it is to find out that the site was hacked (again) by yet another resident of one of the countries we used to consider as the "third world." The alternative is complete secrecy, but then you face the trade off that depreciates membership . . .

The US Military portal requires the use of an individual-specific card, n compliance with Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12/HSPD-12 (check out the specs on the Department of Defense Common Access card). That would be nice, but isn't there an easier way to verify identity?

I'm not asking for a multi-encrypted 35 character alphanumeric password, but could someone please invent a fingerprint scanner for everyone else's computer and smart phone that will allow certain sites (like ours) to ask for verification?

So anyway, that's my "biggest concern." In reality, not much makes me afraid . . .

If all this social networking stuff is making absolutely no sense, take a moment to check out Scott Allen's link to "Social Networking in Plain English."

Speaking of Scott, if you realize just how powerful online networking is, you have got to check out his last book, The Virtual Handshake: Opening Doors and Closing Deals Online, available at In it, he discusses the dynamics and diversity you should see in your social network.

I'm working on that in mine -- see below.