Information sharing; good or bad?

  • Published
  • By Angela Vasser
  • Information Protection
You may think sharing snippets of mission related information with family and friends on the phone, through email or social networks is no big deal, nor is disclosing your own or someone else's personal information. How could you possibly be the cause of someone losing their identity or worse their life? If this is your thought process you couldn't be more wrong. 

An adversary or criminal can be aided by your TEAMmate, your family members or even yourself without any knowledge. The technology explosion has helped the information sharing platform grow successfully. However, it has also opened new doors for adversaries and criminals to obtain necessary information to carry out their operation. 

It is recognized that there is a need to share vital information for effective mission accomplishment. So, how is the balance between sharing information and protecting it accomplished? The key is to use common sense when you are getting ready to share information. 

Col. John M. Quinn, 319th Air Refueling Wing vice commander, signed a protection of classified and controlled unclassified information guidance memorandum Sept. 8. Classified information is information that requires protection to prevent damage to national security. CUI is information requiring control and protective measures for a variety of reasons. CUI includes For Official Use Only, sensitive information, and technical documents exempt from release under the Freedom of Information Act. 

Some key questions you can ask yourself prior to providing the information include: Does it go against standard security practices and possibly harm our mission or national security? Is the information I am about to share accurate? Is there a policy for how the information should be shared or safeguarded? Will it cause an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy? And does the recipient have a need to know the information? These concepts can be fused together into a simple acronym I once read, SAPP; security, accuracy, policy and privacy. 

Next time you are logged onto the computer or are asked to provide someone information, remember the simple acronym SAPP. 

Further clarification of required control and safeguard measures for classified and CUI can be found in DOD 5200.1-R, chapter 5 and appendix 3, or AFI 31-401.