Connect & Protect – an advanced safety
and security information service for
government and industry
Peter Eriksson, Patrik Stridh
1Future Position X, Box 975, Gävle, 80133, Sweden
Tel: +46 026 61 44 00, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
2Organisation, Address, City, Postcode., Country
Tel: +4670 638 9594 , Email: email@example.com
1. Introduction – Connect & Protect
1 Key words: Security, Information sharing, communities of trust, emergency
management, intelligence, Web 2.0
2 Experiences from disasters and emergencies show that one of the major challenges to
managing an incident or emergency event is efficient sharing of information across
organizations. Failure to target proper information to the right recipient in time may
result in damage of property and, worst case, losses of lives. Being able to not only
share common operating pictures, but also enabling professionals to create and share
their own “personal” operating picture based on their role and field of responsibility
(and related information needs), supports making more informed decisions,
collaboration across organizations and efficient use of resources.
3 Over the past two years, Future Position X has coordinated a program in Sweden to
support improved collaboration related to emergency events and threats at both local,
national and international level.
4 This paper will provide experiences from both the local level, with participation from
fire services, hospital and ambulance services, local government, county administration,
and the national level with a number of government agencies. Particular focus has been
placed on mobility.
5 The program is based on Connect & Protect, a web-based information sharing service to
help organizations stay better informed of late-breaking threats and events and
becoming more resilient. The service supports intelligence gathering and creation and
sharing of common operating pictures by fusing various automated and manual online
data feeds. Such data feeds may be ranging from global to domestic sources and
spanning areas like natural disasters, accidents, terrorist acts, traffic incidents, weather,
critical infrastructure disturbances, news etc. The platform is scalable from local to
regional to national to international level. The Connect & Protect service supplies this
information in a secure and trusted manner, where authorized users can set up
communities to share sensitive and critical information during crises to enhance
1. To be a national system for information sharing cross organizations.
2. To be a international system for information sharing cross organizations.
3. Extend the reach of vital, life-saving, real-time emergency information to emergencie
first responders, community safety stakeholders, such as schools, hospitals, large
employers, et al.
4. Increase information sharing between public and private sectors for increased public
5. Lower communications costs through the use of a highly automated functions fore
information sharing and dissemination.
The national project has been a very hands-on proof-of-concept project, where the initial
objective was to test if the experiences from the 911 centrals could be implemented in a
Swedish context. The project group has consisted of representatives from 10 national
government agencies. Much of the initial work consisted of information mapping to decide
suitable sources for integration. Common priorities have been made through a number of
joint workshops, followed up by implementation and testing (both in the field and in
command stations). This has been continuously ongoing throughout the entire project. One
of the biggest challenges has been to see how Swedish laws support information sharing
across organization through the communities of trust model. The absolute strength of the
service is that it lets the content owner administrate its information resources. They thereby
decide and control their own information and who should have access to the information.
That has been the absolute number one key benefit! One critical aspect involves identifying
information hierarchies to support establishment and different levels of information sharing
through communities of trust.
6. Technology Description
The service has been designed to support four main objectives:
7. Access to aggregated, time-critical information as decision support
• Facilitate information gathering from many different sources by combining and
visualising data through a unified, easy-to use configurable interface
• Aggregate information based on subject or event, to enable users to quickly interpret
and identify important related information, i e “connect the dots”.
• Deliver alerts and notifications adjusted to each recipients profile and preferences,
using filters such as subject, alert level, time or geography.
• Support common operating awareness by integrated geographic information
• Enable alerting and notification through various media incl PC and mobile units.
• Dynamically extend the number of persons and functions given access to correct
information on time.
8. Create and manage work groups and information rights (a k a ”Communities of Trust”)
for information exchange between trusted members in a workgroup
• Structure AND flexibility; authorized members in a work group can securely share
sensitive information within predefined (e g harbor security) work groups or
temporarily created work groups (e g Avian flue outbreak) spanning across
• Support management of work groups; such as inviting and authorizing new
members, enforce policies and rules, configure content, provide check-lists,
supportive information etc
• Manage and create “sub-groups”, to meet the need for different levels of
authorization within a community.
9. Simple and efficient information exchange for speed and user friendliness
• Support automated alerting, with immediate notification to each authorized recipient
• Enable users to filter information flows based on their needs reducing irrelevant
• Provide access to critical information from any web-connected computer or mobile
cell phone across the world.
• Simplify access and integration of webb-based information sources; by using web
services 2.0 and other standards, such as the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP).
10. Standardised security to create trust and secure transfer of sensitive information
• Full tractability on all system activity, inkl who took part of information
• Password-based authentication and access
• Authorization based on security level at end-user
• Encrypted transfer
Since Connect & Protect is built on a service-oriented systems architecture, it is easy to
integrate new data sources, given that these are specified in a unified manner. A number of
local and national Swedish information feeds have been integrated, such as 112 alerts,
weather, map services, web cams etc. All RSS-feeds are supported
11. TIES Architecture
13. TIES Overview
Actionable mission-critical information where and when you need it.
TIES is a Web 2.0 information sharing service used by public and private Communities of Trust
concerned with security risks, supply chain bottlenecks, brand compromise, and more. TIES
• Up-to-the-minute critical information from thousands of sources: open source, commercial
• Customized and configurable dashboards for relevance to you
• Layered “operational pictures” for any and all enterprise functions
• Community of Trust management
• Advanced, policy-driven targeting and filtering
As part of the TIES system, TIES Mobile provides secure, location-aware two-way alerting.
With support for both standard browser and Windows Mobile platforms, TIES Mobile
drives real-time alerts and maps to Blackberry, iPhone, Windows Mobile 5/6 devices. TIES
• Field-based alert creation with multi-media support (image, video and audio)
• Continuous tracking of mobile users or assets (e.g. Executive Protection)
• Dynamic alert mapping
• GPS tracking
• Secure, audited transactions
14. TIES Mobile Overview
Mission-critical information for situational awareness, safety and risk management—
wherever you are. As part of the TIES system, TIES Mobile displays real-time safety,
security and risk management data consolidated from many sources directly to a mobile
device. Engineered specifically for ease of use, TIES Mobile provides secure locationally
aware two-way alerting.
• Displays TIES-filtered alerts near your current location
• Lets you create alerts in the field and upload into the TIES system—capture alert
details, location, pictures
• Dynamic alert mapping
•2008: Operation Golden Phoenix '08
•2008: Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI)
•2006–2007: Spirals 1 and 2, Last Mile Intelligence Techniques (LMIT) program,
Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI)
•2006: Information Sharing Cooperative Research and Development Agreement
(CRADA) with NSA’s Information Assurance Directorate
•2006: Synthetic Cities, Joint Forces Command, Dept of Defence
•2004: Joint Warfighter Interoperability Demonstration, NORTHCOM
•2003–present: Connect & Protect, City of Portland, Multnomah County, State of
Oregon, et. Al
•2004-05: LA RECON (Louisiana Emergency Command Operations Network), Dept of
Defence Homeland Security and Defence Command and Control Advanced Concept
Technology Demonstration (HLS/D C2 ACTD)
•2003-04: TRANSEC-Net, a 22-port Information Sharing Pilot, TSA, Dept of
•2002-2005: Homeland Security and Defence Command and Control Advanced
Concept Technology Demonstration (HLS C2 ACTD) Dept of Defence.
Awards and Recognition
•2006: The CRADA between Swan Island Networks and the NSA/IAD is the subject of
a two-part information sharing political analysis published in the Washington Times
•2005: Wired Magazine publishes a story about Connect & Protect (an information
sharing service based on Swan Island Networks' technology) describing it as a
“radical breakthrough” in emergency management
•2005: Swan Island Networks’ CEO wins Federal Computer Week 16th annual Federal
•2004: Connect & Protect is a finalist for the Homeland Security Innovation of the Year,
given by the Ash Institute at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government
•2004: Swan Island Networks’ flagship SWARM technology wins Top Ten Performer
Award, Joint Warfighter Interoperability Demonstration
•2003: Swan Island Networks’ CEO speaks at a US Chamber of Commerce conference,
“The National Response Plan: Implications for Government, Non-Profit and Private
Sector Disaster Coordination”
•Managed Services: Low-cost, agile commercial-off-the-shelf information services are
quickly replacing expensive proprietary systems.
•Agile Mashups: New Web 2.0-style geospatial systems are dynamically fusing
together a variety of information sources—and providing flexible new views of
changing conditions, in real-time.
•Communities of Trust: Requirements for cross-agency, cross-jurisdiction information
sharing services are met with new community-based information access models.
A number of incidents and events, like the tsunami and various storms over the past years,
clearly show the need for collaboration between government agencies to manage
unexpected events and threats to society. Various initiatives have been made to facilitate
this, including organisational changes, methods and technological development. Many
organisations have developed their own command and control systems and in some cases
exchange information with other agencies, but usually through “stovepipes”. Many
organisations do however still lack application support for gathering information and
sharing this with others in a secure manner. Getting organisations to collaborate in
information sharing to support intelligence gathering and operational work is to a large
degree a matter of mindset. Such projects do take time. Building trust is a key factor, where
each information owner has concerns about the control and full ownership of his/her
information and wh has access to this. Using a community structure similar to what has
been implemented in Connect & Protect, this hurdle can be overcome.
Conclusions from the project are that such a system as Connect & Protect can be
implemented in a Swedish context within existing organisational framework. The project
shows that there is a need for collaborative solutions that support sharing of emergency-
related information across organisations. Development and use of standards for messaging,
data feeds like RSS and geospatial mapping for publishing information is vital, and many of
the involved agencies admit they need to review their existing information structures as
their specific information is often “locked” into stovepipe applications. As the number of
information resources grow exponentially and become available through various media and
news services, there is an increasing need to provide access to various sources through a
common interface. This enables forming a common operating picture across organisations
and yet allows for flexibility to customise information views based on each users/
organisations needs and responsibilities. Empowering each information owner to control
their own information and who has access to it is vital to the success of collaborative efforts
in forming common operating pictures and sharing that information with others.