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Exclusive Look at FBI's New Sentinel System

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the sneak-peek dept.

Government 27

gManZboy writes "Six years and $450 million into the project, the FBI's Sentinel case-management system appears to be almost ready for deployment. Sentinel aims to replace a hodge-podge of digital and paper processes with purely digital workflows, helping FBI agents collaborate and "connect the dots" on investigations. The question now is how well the problem-plagued system will live up to those expectations. FBI CIO Chad Fulgham demonstrated Sentinel for InformationWeek on March 28, the first time the agency has shown its new case-management system to an outsider. 'This isn't just a case-management system. It's a great platform to grow on,' Fulgham said during the demo at FBI headquarters. The agency's IT team plans to move other apps over to Sentinel, giving them a similar look and feel on the same underlying hardware."

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What is it? Sharepoint? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39541805)

If so, how many ex-FBI contracting officers can now be found at Microsoft as "senior executives in charge of golf-ball washing"?

Re:What is it? Sharepoint? (2)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | about 2 years ago | (#39542303)

Wouldn't be surprised at all. Every time I've had a piece of software pitched to me as "more than just an X", it means it's "not even an X, but it could be, someday!"

... loosely resembles Microsoft Outlook (5, Funny)

busyqth (2566075) | about 2 years ago | (#39541845)

The user dashboard loosely resembles Microsoft Outlook

Well see now they're behind the curve again and they are going to have to redo the whole system as a giant screen covered with monochromatic rectangles containing enigmatic ideograms in order to keep up with the 21st century.

I Hope They Consulted With Hollywood (2)

raftpeople (844215) | about 2 years ago | (#39541869)

They've been working on these kinds of apps for a long time. With features like large rotating cubes as the system pulls in relevant data from every electronic appliance connected to the internet.

Re:I Hope They Consulted With Hollywood (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39544823)

24, Transformers, Swordfish.

April Fools (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39541871)

The government could never pull this off.

Re:April Fools (2)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | about 2 years ago | (#39542019)

Actually, what happened to all the dumb April Fools sotries? I wanted to continue my twelve year tradition of pointing out to the noisy whiners that they do it every year!

Now I'm being the whiner. :(

Re:April Fools (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39543185)

April Fool!

they almost got me... (4, Funny)

million_monkeys (2480792) | about 2 years ago | (#39541925)

I totally believed this was a legitimate story until I got to the last paragraph:

The official word from the FBI is that the system will be launched "in the summer." Fulgham expressed confidence that Sentinel will not only work as advertised, but even come in a few million dollars under its $451 million budget. But if there are any last-minute glitches, Fulgham won't be around to fix them. Let's hope he's not needed.

I was willing to accept that the government managed to produce a functional, apparently well received and highly usable system. But a government project that came in under budget? That's pushing credibility a bit too far.

Re:they almost got me... (5, Informative)

roothog (635998) | about 2 years ago | (#39542009)

It actually is legit. Here's an article from 2010 giving the same budget numbers, and saying that it will be ready by 2011 at the earliest. Getting close to ready in 2012 then seems about right. Story [fiercegovernmentit.com]

more effecient racism and bigotry (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39541967)

Great, now they can be bigots and racists far more effeciently

rights eroding away (3, Insightful)

deodiaus2 (980169) | about 2 years ago | (#39541977)

Just another example of our rights to search and seizure eroding away.
We use to laugh at the Soviets, but we have entered the same level of a police state.
Fundamentally, the Soviets had reasons for maintaining their level of security. 200M Russians died during WWII. They did not want to be subjugate to serfdom.
The American Revolution was fought over less intrusive a system than the one that we currently have. But then, the American Revolution was fought not so much over the desire for taxation without representation, but rather, as John Hancock said, "[He] did not want to give one red cent to King George of England." Ironic, as Hancock had more wealth then he could ever spend in his lifetime. Hancock employed half the population of Boston and owned one third of the property. American people sacrificed their lives for far less gain.

Re:rights eroding away (2)

colinrichardday (768814) | about 2 years ago | (#39542107)

200M Russians died during WWII.

I believe it was more like 20 million.

Re:rights eroding away (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39542131)

Yeah, and shit ton of them Rooskies died in Finland when they aggressively attacked Finland...that was the only time Russia was "the Victim"...now how's that for home defense...red bitches


Re:rights eroding away (1)

interval1066 (668936) | about 2 years ago | (#39542791)

Right. Stalin killed 40 million Russians in the years leading up to WWII, but that was working day and night for 20 years.

Re:rights eroding away (1)

glitch23 (557124) | about 2 years ago | (#39545739)

Just another example of our rights to search and seizure eroding away.

Based on what? Sentinel is an investigation tool, not a surveillance system. You may not like the name but this will help them prosecute and convict interstate criminals faster and cheaper because they will have electronic tools at their disposal to assist in finding patterns and links when a human can't.

Re:Sentinel is an investigation tool, not a survei (1)

deodiaus2 (980169) | about 2 years ago | (#39606825)

As Orwell put it best, these systems often enter the system as devices intent for good.
You don't have a "Total Surveillance System" in place, you have a "Terrorist Surveillance System".
Its not the "Department of War" but "Department of Defense"!
Yes there is a need for finding, prosecuting and convicting criminals, but it turns out that these systems get subjugatged for other uses.

April Fools? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39542013)

I can't tell. Is this an April Fool's post?

Re:April Fools? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39542675)

Sure it is. The article specifically mentions that this piece of software came in under budget. A government project under budget? No way!

o.m.g (1)

alienzed (732782) | about 2 years ago | (#39542801)

451 million dollars for software? Where are the protests now eh?

Re:o.m.g (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39543055)

I'd guess they don't utilize a [X]XXXX stack, where the X is in {A,E,F,G,i,I,L,M,O,P,S,W}. The management probably can't see how the pieces fit and work together and do prefer a more closed system. Also the 451 million might be the system cost, including something running the software and something protecting the system from the elements.

Re:o.m.g (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39545525)

I'd guess they don't utilize a [X]XXXX stack, where the X is in {A,E,F,G,i,I,L,M,O,P,S,W}.

I have no idea what that means. Anyone care to enlighten me?

Re:o.m.g (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39569615)

LAMP, for example. The target was government bureaucracy funnies.

Or... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39543801)

Sentinel aims to replace a hodge-podge of digital and paper processes with hodge-podge of purely digital workflows

Frankly, I'm surprised. . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39544129)

. . .that it got done at all, Consider its' predecessor, the Virtual Case File. . . . [wikipedia.org]. It was developed. or at least they TRIED to develop it, at the FBI "CJIS" Data Center in Clarksburg, WV [fbi.gov]. I know, I've worked there. One huge building, 15 interlocking directorates which overlap and routinely ignore each other.

What happened to the Virtual Case File ??? Death by Bureaucracy [ieee.org]. Not to mention the lack of a requirements baseline on which to design and build. In the end, huge amounts of money was wasted. $170 million on software development alone, but that doesn't include the hardware buy, all of which was nearly obsolete when they pulled the plug [washingtonpost.com] in 2005, but was still mouldering in an underground storeroom at CJIS in early 2007.

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