Group releases open specification for sensitive info sharing

The Regional Alliances for Infrastructure and Network Security (RAINS), a nonprofit organization of IT companies and government agencies that promotes homeland security technologies, Monday announced an open specification for sharing of sensitive data between local, state and national agencies.

The RAINS Open Specification for Sensitive Information Sharing is an alternative to a proprietary, single-vendor strategy and will be published openly so other vendors can join the effort, Charles Jennings, RAINS chairman, said in a conference call.

The specification allows individual organizations to choose their own systems and platforms yet provides interoperability with other regional and national systems for homeland security, according to RAINS.

"What RAINS does is bring a unique and elegant solution for sharing sensitive information," said S.J. Camarata, director of corporate strategies at ESRI, a software vendor supporting the specification. "It is a framework that allows industry and government to work together. This is a private-public partnership that is really working."

Other supporters include Intel, Hewlett-Packard and public agencies across the country.

Jennings said RAINS has talked with Department of Homeland Security officials about the specification and some agencies within DHS are very interested. The group has had more activity with the Department of Defense than DHS, he added.

The initial guidelines for the specification include: Operation of a UDDI Registry by RAINS for participating partners deploying web services; systems much adopt and build on existing standards; and solutions must not require specialized training to be installed and operated.

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