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Your Bosses Could Have a File on You, and They May Misinterpret It


For many years, much of the federal government’s security-clearance-granting process has relied on techniques that emerged within the mid-twentieth century.

“It’s very manual,” said Evan Lesser, president of ClearanceJobs, a web site posting, jobs, news and advice for positions that involve security clearances. “Driving around in cars to fulfill people. It’s very antiquated and takes up quite a lot of time.”

A federal initiative that began in 2018 called Trusted Workforce 2.0 formally introduced semi-automated evaluation of federal employees that happens in near real time. This program will let the federal government use artificial intelligence to subject employees who’re searching for or have already got security clearances to “continuous vetting and evaluation” — mainly, rolling evaluation that takes in information consistently, throws up red flags and includes self-reporting and human evaluation.

“Can we construct a system that checks on any person and keeps checking on them and is aware of that person’s disposition as they exist within the legal systems and the general public record systems on a continuous basis?” said Chris Grijalva, senior technical director at Peraton, an organization that focuses on the federal government side of insider evaluation. “And out of that concept was born the notion of continuous evaluations.”

Such efforts had been utilized in government in additional ad hoc ways for the reason that Nineteen Eighties. However the 2018 announcement aimed to modernize government policies, which generally re-evaluated employees every five or 10 years. The motivation for the adjustment in policy and practice was, partly, the backlog of required investigations and the concept that circumstances, and other people, change.

“That’s why it’s so compelling to maintain people under some sort of a continuing, ever-evolving surveillance process,” said Martha Louise Deutscher, writer of the book “Screening the System: Exposing Security Clearance Dangers.” She added that, “Day-after-day you’ll run the credit check, and every single day you’ll run the criminal check — and the banking accounts, the marital status — and ensure that that individuals don’t run into those circumstances where they may turn into a risk in the event that they weren’t yesterday.”

This system’s first phase, a transition period before full implementation, finished in fall 2021. In December, the U.S. Government Accountability Office really helpful that the automation’s effectiveness be evaluated (though not, you understand, repeatedly).

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