Lately I have ran across numerous situations involving the illegal recording of private conversations and thought I would highlight the legalities and pitfalls involved. With the mass availability of devices (cell phones, mini-recorders, laptops, watches, i-pads) that can surreptitiously record telephone and face to face conversations there is now an increased temptation by many individuals to do so. However, without researching the legalities of such actions, this could result in being criminally prosecuted for a felony offense or having a civil lawsuit filed against you. It would behoove you to be familiar with Federal and state wiretapping laws before engaging in any such activity.
Last week the Office of Personnel Management made a decision to shut down the e-QIP application used to process 90% of Federal government background investigations for 4-6 weeks. At the same time, due to the data breach which allowed hackers access to OPM investigative records through a laptop that was only user ID/password protected, the Office of Management and Budget has now pushed for all Federal agencies to comply with an HSPD-12 requirement first rolled out in 2005 that mandated agencies upgrade their IT infrastructures to meet Federal Identity Credentialing and Access Management (FICAM) standards. The result of these two events is “the perfect storm” in which compliance with investigative requirements for issuance of a smart identification card and the inability to submit background investigations has left agencies in quite a predicament.
The DoD Consolidated Adjudication Facility (CAF) unveiled a brand new website in May that is surprisingly forthcoming in providing information about adjudications, appeals, security clearance announcements/news, and even DoD CAF job openings. This is quite a refreshing change to what in the past has always seemed to be a shadow organization in the security clearance process where answers to a lot of questions went unanswered or were hard to come by without knowing someone on the inside. The site also lists the key leaders of the organization, and truth be told, I did not recognize any of the names prior to seeing them on the site. Here are some highlights that I gleaned from visiting the different pages:
An article in the Washington Post this weekend argues that despite a background investigation overhaul at the Office of Personnel Management that resulted in the barring of background investigation contractor USIS and was to lead to changes in security clearance processing, the pressures remain much the same for the investigators doing the work.