Alan Bersin, Assistant Secretary of International Affairs and Chief Diplomatic Officer for the Department of Homeland Security, discusses border management using big data. September, 2013.
>> Hello everybody. Good afternoon and welcome. I am delighted to see everybody here at the first of this year's series of Policy Talks at the Ford School. I hope that you will continue to join us throughout the year. We have a number of very interesting events that are planed as part of this series. Well, today's event is co-hosted by the Ford School International Policy Center and I'd like to think its director Allan Stam for his help in putting together the activities this afternoon. We're very honored to be joined by Assistant Secretary for International Affairs and cheap diplomatic officer at the United States Department of Homeland Security, Alan Bersin.
[ Applause ]
I will be introducing assistant secretary Bersin more fully in just a few moments. But first, I really wanted to share with you a little bit of background about the Rosenthal Lecture and why this event has particular importance to the Ford School. Josh Rosenthal was a 1979 graduate of the University of Michigan. He went on to earn a Masters Degree in Public Policy from Princeton University. He was passionate about world affairs and he worked in a field of international finance. He died in the attacks on September 11th on the World Trade Center. Josh mother, Marilyn Rosenthal was a long time Michigan faculty member and she very much wanted to shape in a positive way meaning from what happened on 9/11. And so to honor her son's optimism about the world and about how mutual understanding, dialogue and analysis can help to improve communities both within the United States and beyond our borders, she helped us to launch this lecture. Marilyn and others established the Josh Rosenthal education fund which enables the Ford School to bring leading public policy figures to in arbor [phonetic] every September. And I know that there are some members of the Rosenthal family who are here with us and I wanted to say thank you for joining us. We really appreciate your ongoing support and the inspiration that it brings to our community. Marilyn Rosenthal died in 2007 but I know she would have been really pleased by our speaker this year and she would have wanted to extend a very warm welcome to a distinguished public servant, Assistant Secretary Alan Bersin. Prior to a service with the current administration, President Clinton appointed Mr. Bersin to serve as the US Attorney for Southern District of California. He later served as superintendent of public education in San Diego under Governor Schwarzenegger. He's has a varied and very extensive public service career clearly. In 2009, he was appointed by President Obama as Assistant Secretary and Special Representative for Border Affairs in the Department Of Homeland Security. And in 2012, he was sworn in as the Department Assistant Secretary for International Affairs and Chief Diplomatic Officer. Mr. Bersin graduated by Beta Kappa from Harvard with the degree in government. He was a Rhodes Scholar and he holds a degree as well from Yale Law School and I understand that in addition to those academic accolades was an all star athletes and is a member of Harvard's Varsity Club Hall of Fame. So, many, many ways in which has contributed and has a--had a very, very background. Mr. Bersin has expressed his eagerness to take questions from the audience as part of this event. And so, at around 5 o'clock, Ford School staff will come down the aisles to pick up question cards and I hope all of you received cards or you can write questions on a piece of paper if you like. Professor Ann Lynn [assumed spelling] will help to select questions along with two Ford School students, Brian McMillan and Diana Won [assumed spelling]. And so, we look forward to that part of the program and again, do encourage you to contribute your questions as well. So, with that, we move on to the main part of our program. Please join me in welcoming Assistant Secretary Alan Bersin.
[ Pause ]
>> Thank you Dean for that gracious introduction and I am honored to be here for the Josh Rosenthal Lecture. And I understand my obligation and then reciprocally yours is to consistent with the desires of the professor Rosenthal of this school to make some positive meeting from what happened on 9/11. And yesterday, as we commemorated the 12th anniversary of that faithful day, I was out at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Cheltenham, Maryland, in Clinton, Maryland, the town of Cheltenham, and met with federal law enforcement officers to actually take note of the day. And the pain had not diminished. But in fact, as we move in time a way we begin, we to see more clearly what we could not see that morning. So, we observed that seven--at 8:43, a moment of silence to commemorate the striking of the North Tower by that first plane. I was a school superintendent now in California with 6:43 in a social study's teacher called me and said, "Mr. Bersin turn on the television set, a plane has struck the World Trade Center." And the first reaction that I had and many of us had was it was an accident that someone there have been a pilot area [phonetic] of monumental portions. And then, of course 20 minutes later and yesterday we observed the striking the South Tower. And with that, we realized that the world had changed perhaps forever. Although, we were not certain at that point exactly what those changes might be. What I'd like to do today is consistent with the purpose of the lecture is to examine a changes in a way we see the world particularly with regard to the movement of people and goods. The theme of the talk is "Managing Global Borders and Defensive Big Data". It's timely given the Edward Snowden disclosers recently to understand the role of Big Data in managing border flows and while I will not in the context of the address or the remarks discuss a Section 702 of the FISA Act, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act has I learned from reading several of the transcripts. This is not a shy crowd. And in the context of questions and answers would be delighted to respond as best I can to your inquiries. But the point dealt is Big Data. We know we lived in Big Data. This is a not question that saying "Somehow we could wish a way Big Data." Big Data controls much of what we now do in the area of scientific research. The progress that we've made in genetics and in mapping the genomes a lot of that is the massive power of computations that's now available in the crunching of data, much of what took place in the 2012 Election was a function of the use of Big Data in analyzing electrical trends, and electrical constituencies. So, when we looked at and as I discussed with you the notion of Big Data in managing the movement of passengers and cargo, we will start there but must understand that it's part of a much larger phenomenon in today's world. So, 50 years ago, and a book that I command that I'm very spare and the books that I command. Thomas Kuhn wrote a book called "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions". It's the book that gave rise to determine paradigm often now a hackly term but one that is useful and describing a way of seeing of the world, the way of taking a data and actually organizing into pattern so that you can begin to explain phenomenon around you. And he applied that in the history of science to, for example, he used the Ptolemaic age which was the age in which human beings believed that the earth was the center of the universe. And it was in that age that somehow the Egyptians three to 4,000 years ago built the pyramids, a very arrogant statement of the human--of the human condition particularly at that early point in history. And then Kuhn goes into point out that when the Copernican Revolution pointed out that in fact the sun is the center of the Solar System, there was a reduction in the self conception of man.
^M00:10:01 So when we looked at 9/11, and we asked, what has been the change in the world, in the 12 years since that day? I would say that for American history it will stand out as a traumatic event greater than and certainly no less than Pearl Harbor was to the greatest generation in 1941. It was the first time since the British burned Washington in a hundred years ago in 18--in the war of 1812 that we have a direct attacked on the Continental United States. We had a sense of vulnerability because the borders were violated. This was a direct attack and it was an attack not by a nation state but by non-state actors. It was an attack that killed 3,000 of our citizens but had implications far beyond that because we did not know with whom exactly we were at war. And then, of course there was the declaration of the war against terror that characterize much of our approach to International Affairs certainly for the last decade. And I would submit that President Obama is attempting to introduce the notion of proportionality without denying the fact that terror still represents a threat to this nation and to our people. But what were the results of 9/11 in terms of the violation of a border? We developed in the United States the concept of Homeland Security. We had never as a people for--and our historians had never recorded Americans thinking in terms of homeland. It cert--it sounded vaguely European and continental. But we never thought of ourselves as being subject to or protecting homelands. We were protected by two oceans. We only during in the context of the Cold War with Soviet missiles a place to come over realized that there was a potential threat but we never experienced it. 9/11 was a searing experienced of an invasion into our homeland. And it changed the American government in a way of looking at the world I think forever. Certainly, the Department of Homeland Security was one result. In 2003, President Bush proposed in the Congress developed the notion of Homeland Security. Now the third largest department in the Unites State Government more than 240,000 employees, a budget of over 50 billion dollars and the notion was what are we going to do to preclude another attack to borders that were weaken. The notion that we needed to pull together those agencies that have been spread across the landscape of the American government to group together to focus on Homeland Security which at end is the keeping of dangerous people and dangerous things away from the American homeland. And so, in 2004, the department was launched. But in fact what we began to understand was that the paradigms were changing and needed to change in order to accommodate this new demand on government. So, the old American reconciliation of dichotomies suddenly would no longer serviceable. We used to have a very clear distinction between national security and domestic law enforcement order. The distinction between national security and homeland security is now--not so clear and in fact, President Obama in 2009, coming into the--coming in after the 2008 Election actually disbanded the Homeland Security Council and merged Homeland Security and National Security into one deliberative and action oriented body. The second notion that or paradigm that is no longer of the same relevance practically although it retains a legal and policy significant is the distinction between US persons and non-US persons. A third dichotomy where the historic American reconciliation of differences no longer obtains is on the doctrine of military forces in the United States are not permitted by law under the doctrine of Posse Comitatus to participate in law enforcement activities unless there is a declaration of national emergency by the president that brings the national guard into the streets has it has occasionally in the last half century of our history. So, those are the kinds of changes that--are the grist [phonetic] for students at a school of public policy. And it is your work that will be critical in the next generation to reshape the paradigms, the ways of seeing those issues that until 9/11 we had settled on in the American policy making in the American history. It's an exciting time because you will be called on and are called on to develop the international--intellectual infrastructure the paraphernalia of thinking about these issues that are new and based on the experience of 9/11. While I will leave those, I want to spend today on three other issues and these are the ones that I want to offer you the sense that we have a new way of approaching it that requires Big Data. And Big Data is not only necessary but it's desirable in order to resolve these contradictions if you will in managing global border flows. Because at end and Gen. Hayden have eluded to this last year in his lecture, we actually are the point at which we cannot looked at the old methods of resolving problems in quite the same way. So, what I want to offer to you today are three paradigm shifts and three proposed solutions that we are implementing as a matter of Homeland Security and I want to offer them for you a critique and for your improvement. But all of them deal with this clash that is embodied in 9/11. But a clash of civilizations in the Sam Huntington sense to be sure, but also a collision of two trends over the last hundred years. Actually one dating back to the 17th century because to way in which we have organized the international seen is based on the Westphalia--the Treaty of Westphalia that recognized that nation's states are the units of relevance in dealing with issues of the monopoly of power and the use of force, and the like. And that notion of nation states is colliding with the reality of globalization. And in fact, both trends that had been accelerating since World War II or the one would argue that the Cold War and the bipolarity of the Soviet versus American confrontation actually massed the extent to which will were becoming a global world, a borderless world that still regulates itself by reference to borders. That collision was brought explosively home to us on 9/11 with non-state actors that operate as networks, not either as nation's states, let along empires of the yesteryear, but as networks of people driven by ideological and religious passion. The three propositions. First, that borders are not just lines on in the sand. They are not just the juridical lines of jurisdictions that define one jurisdiction of a nation state and separated from another. But rather in a global world they are flows of goods, people, ideas, electrons.
^M00:20:06 And indeed, it is in the cybersphere that we see a borderless world in which we are trying to operate through negotiation among nation states in the Westphalian mode. Borders are flows as much as they are lines. Second, we tend to think of lawful trade and commerce as being antithetical or certainly mutually exclusive from security. That is to say you have to balance security and trade. If you increase your level of security by definition you have to slow down trade to be able to inspect it. I want to suggest today that that's not in fact the phenomenon we faced and then in a global context security and the expediting of lawful trade are actually a single process. And the third proposition that I would put before you today is that security and privacy are not two parts, or not two separate conversations, but they're two parts of the same conversations, that in fact, the way in which we share information today and manage Big Data is not only theoretically consistent with privacy but practically so. So let me start with the first. And in each of those three propositions so, I'm going to rely on three cases. The three cases are the only cases of terrorism that we have had in this country since 9/11 that involved a crossing of borders. Now we've had other instances of terror, but they have typically been done by people who are in the Untied States, who were radicalize either by reference to the internet, or otherwise. But the three cases that actually involved the crossing of borders with the Abdulmutallab case that involved the Detroit Metro Airport, Christmas Day, 2009. The Yemen cargo plot where Al-Qaeda in the Arabia peninsula attempted to blow up cargo planes over Chicago having filled printer cartridges with PETN explosives. And the third case was Faisal Shahzad, the Time Square bomber. And I will use those cases to show that change in the paradigm with regard to each of the propositions that have advanced. First, the borders are flows of goods, and people and then homeland security cannot be seen as a solely domestic phenomenon is demonstrated by the Abdulmutallab case. Here was a Nigerian who got on the plane in Africa flew to skip a layer port in the Netherlands and then bordered a northwest airliner bound for Detroit. His intention was to blow himself up over Detroit. And actually, it was over in Windsor when in fact the fire in his underwear was put out by fellow passenger. What was interesting about the Abdulmutallab from the standpoint of homeland security was that he had been identified. He'd been identified on the Advanced Passenger Information is someone who Customs And Border Protection would have pulled in to secondary to have a further discussion based on the fact that he had only purchased a one way ticket. So, the Customs and Border Protection people would have questioned him but of course what would have happen was that the terrorist act wouldn't have been completed because he wouldn't blown up the airliner before he arrived at the airport. What that told us was that in fact borders, the 330 airport, seaports and land ports that are the ports of entry into the United States that they were not the way we thought about in the homeland security sense. They were not the first line of defense. The last line of--the first line of defense, they were the last line of defense. And in fact, we needed to secure the flow of goods and people toward the homeland by securing them outside of the United States, by engaging with--in partnership with our foreign, allies, and friends. And by gathering data about who was getting on the airplane. So in fact, Customs and Border Protection had started and now continues to gather every time we get on an airplane or anyone gets on an airplane coming to the United States. You--The information of you boarding the airplane and the reservation data is actually maintained in databases at the Department of Homeland Security. The Big Data of travel. So, there is data having to do with every person who's crossed the US border, land, air, and see since 2009. And whenever there is manifest showing a group of passengers coming toward the United States, that manifest is run against those databases for the purpose of understanding, whether or not we are dealing with a suspected terrorist or an established criminal. But we do that starting outside the United States. This is a fundamental change in the way of we looked at homeland security because we realized that the homeland security function is in inherently transnational and international. And therefore not surprisingly, DHS, the Department of Homeland Security has the third largest footprint now of US government officials and the civilians here abroad. After the State Department and the Central Intelligence Agency, DHS has more federal employee stationed abroad doing the work of securing the goods and people coming toward the United States inspecting cargo, inspecting passengers, and airports of last point of departure. Borders are flows as much as they are lines. And we analyze the security issue by looking at the flows toward the line. Proposition two. That in fact, expediting lawful trade and travel is consistent with security and that the two are actually a single process. We learned that when the Al-Qaeda network in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen attempted to blow up the FedEx plane and the UPS plane going through Europe coming to Chicago. And again, as had been the case in the Abdulmutallab case, these were packages, printer cartridges filled with the explosives that were address to synagogues in Chicago. And Homeland Security would have looked at packages addressed from Yemen to synagogues in Chicago. But again, doing that in the Chicago in the mail depot at O'Hare would have been too late and the terrorist act would have been accomplished. So in fact, what we do now as in the case of passengers, every cargo as it starts off in a maritime vessel or an airliner, or in a truck trailer coming into the United States, we analyze it against data maintained by Customs and Border Protection in a National Targeting Center. And when you consider that 99 percent, 98 percent of these massive flows are perfectly legitimate, you begin to realize the difficulty of managing global borders because you are in fact looking for a needle in haystack.
^M00:30:10 And the issue is, how do you find a needle in a haystack? And let me assure you that in the globalize world these are massive, massive flows of goods and people. In 2011, 2.5 billion persons travel on international airlines. 16 trillion dollars of exported goods flowed across the world. Three and half billion movements of containers from land to see occur. Put to find a point on it and they specifically US context, everyday, Customs and Border Protection processes one million people into the United States. Everyday, 60,000 containers filled with goods are processed and managed into the United States. Every year, the United States imports two trillion dollars worth of goods from abroad and exports 1.8, 1.9 trillion dollars in exit from our economy. These flows are massive and the question is how do you actually manage them to find the needle in the haystack, to find the high risk item or passenger. And it's in that context that I think the big data and the uses of big data is unavoidable because there are only at least as far as I can see that only three ways to find the needle in the haystack. The first is look at every piece of straw, and in fact, that's what we did in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. We shut down the airspace of the United States. Airlines were not flying. We opened up every trunk coming south from Canada going--coming north from Mexico. The line stretch back 10 miles into Ontario, 20 miles back in Baja California and Mexico. We soon realized that if that were the way in which we we're going to manage global borders that in fact terrorists would have accomplish their aim, they would have shut down the modern economy. So, we can't look at every piece of straw. The second way of finding a needle in a haystack is to get very granulated intelligence that tells you where in the stack the needle is. And in fact, that's what happened in the Yemen cargo flight. Saudi Arabian intelligence authorities actually alerted our intelligence community that a package had been placed on a cargo airliner. And out of the tens of millions of packages in the global supply chain, we were actually with that intelligence able to find the two offending packages and prevent their detonation over Chicago. And while the intelligence community has improved in terms of the kind of human intelligence, the exchange of very specific information about risk, you cannot depend on that method to find a needle in a haystack. So the third and remaining way of finding a needle in a haystack is you've got to make the haystack smaller. And the way you make the haystack smaller is by separating out, that traffic which is known to be low risk, and focusing your attention on that part of the massive goods or people that are either high risk because of information that you have against which the manifests have been run. Or you lack sufficient information to make a judgment about whether the person or the cargo presents a high degree of risk. By doing that in a systematic way with the use of big data, you can begin to engage in risk management on a global scale, and in fact that is the way we precede. We separate out low risk so that we can focus scares, inspection resources on higher risk items or people for those who about which we lack sufficient information make a judgment. And it is by expediting lawful trade and traffic that we actually raised at any particular resource allocation, we raised the security profile. For that reason, if we genuinely do practice and believe that economic competitiveness and trade and travel is not inconsistent with security, but in fact, by expediting lawful trade and travel, you end up with not only a better economic--economically competitive position but you end up with a more secure flow of goods in the global supply chain. The third proposition. And this one I turned to the case Faisal Shahzad, the naturalized US citizen for Pakistan who traveled several occasions back to the tribal area Waziristan in between Afghanistan and Pakistan and was trained by the Taliban and it was his intention to blow up a car in Time Square. And you will recall that it was an alert guard that actually signaled that the car was abandoned and the explosives were found and defused so that there was no lost of life or injury as a result. But how do you find Faisal Shahzad now serving a life sentence at the federal prison. How do you find him within three days of the incident? And that was through the use of big data, and it happened this way. When the car was discovered in Time Square, law enforcement officers could identify, obviously the license plate, and trace the license plate which was registered in Connecticut to the woman from whom Faisal Shahzad had purchased the car in a cash transaction the day the week before. Once they had that contact, they were able to reach out to the woman who sold him the car and say, "To whom did you sell the car?" And she said, "I don't know his name. It was a cash transaction but I have his cell phone number on my cell phone." With that number, we were able to run the phone number through Big Data, and there was a hit because when he had made plane reservations to go abroad, his cell phone number was on the passenger name record information which is collected by the airlines and maintained by the government. We then identified who it was that we were looking for. And he was ultimately arrested because he had gotten on an Emirate Airline plane at Kennedy Airport. And when the Advanced Passenger Information, the manifest that he was departing the Untied States was run against the database, the match that permitted his arrest was made. Now, what's--permits me I think to say that that exercise shows that security is consistent with privacy depends on the following argument.
[ Pause ]
The old model of information sharing in data exchange was that I take my data, I put it in to a dump truck, I backed it up into your database, and give the data to you, and then you run and mind that data without any knowledge on my part of what you are doing with that data.
^M00:40:14 In fact, the way in which Big Data is analyzed is not at all consistent with that model of data exchange in the traditional way. The way in which we mind data now is based on algorithms and search devices that are very targeted so that, in fact, we can say that very few of the actual data points are touched by the scanning of Big Data. And that the only matters that examined are those in which there is an alert or a hit. And at that point, there are protocols. And here they are clearly in the context of Section 702 of FISA in the data--Big Data context. There are rules that govern what you do and how you approach the content of that alert. Otherwise, in a federated computer search, all of the scanning is done in a completely masked and unanimous way. It is not a question of all of the data being looked at. In fact, it is not looked at, it is stand and only where there is a match or an alert, where they would be further review. And that review is governed by rules and protocols. In most cases, legislatively determine and then remaining cases by regulatory process. Those are three propositions. I will say that in the use of Big Data in managing borders, DHS is the first institution that actually builds privacy into the process from the beginning rather than look at into something to be viewed from outside. Indeed, the first privacy officer of the Obama Administration and DHS, now a professor of law at the law school here is--will be able to challenge if I've misspoken.
[ Pause ]
Managing global borders the defense of Big Data. I've offered that to you and think probably there are some challenging questions. But let me take a quick look at the--of the text to see if there's anything else I want to put on the table before you come at me.
[ Laughter ]
[ Pause ]
No. I think the propositions have been stated and they now need to be challenged. Thank you very much for this opportunity. I deeply appreciate it.
[ Applause ]
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>> So, the first question is do you believe our borders are secure, why? And how can we further improve our national security?
>> At least three contexts we can take that up and in the context of the current Comprehensive Immigration debate which I am deeply involved and not as deeply as a very dear Michigan related person, Cecilia Munoz but I'm honored to work her office. The border security issue on the land border, I'll take up at last which is the one that's been the focus in the immigration debate. The air borders, I believe that the systems that we have elaborated and that I've discussed that somewhat today with you is secure. Like aviation security is not always a threat because Al-Qaeda continues to remain preoccupied with blowing up airplanes. So, we need to be vigilant but I believed we've put in play systems. But the problem always in the security challenges that you always are preparing for the last incident and you've got to get ahead of it and look to the next incident. It's a little bit like the generals who prepare for the last war when they should be looking ahead to the next military challenge. Sea--the seaports through the operation of the United States Coast Guard with help as necessary from the United States Navy and state local authorities that are charged with protecting the river ports such as the Detroit River, with Windsor, or the littoral sections of the country, I believe of the defense is satisfactory. The one that is given rise to debate in the immigration context is what--what is the state of the US-Mexican Border? Even more so, considerably more so than the condition of the US-Canada Border. The answer there is in here. I've actually lived this. I wish for each of you the opportunity to start something in public life and have the stamina to actually see not only the beginning but the end. And with the enactment of Comprehensive Immigration Reform, which we believe will occur, we will see a change in the nature of the border. But in every metric, by every metric that you could use, the border is more secure than it has ever been. And I've seen this. I lived the last 20 years and worked in--on the US-Mexican Border in Tijuana, San Diego. In 1993, when I became the United States attorney in the so-called borders are in the Clinton Administration, we arrested 565,000 people, Mexicans trying to enter the United States illegally. The high point on the whole US-Mexican Border was the year 2000 when 1.6 million of Mexican migrants were arrested for crossing into the United States illegally. The difference is that in 1993, and now, last year, the numbers bound to 350,000, and many of those are repeat [phonetic]. The difference is that in 1993, every one of those 565,000 people who are arrested actually ultimately made it into the United States by trying again. Last year, by any measure, the fee charge by smugglers, the reports from the migrants themselves, it is not so easy to enter the United States illegally. And the decrease in the number shows that. The crime rates in border regions are the lowest they've been in 30 years. Four of the 10 safest cities in the United States are on the border, El Paso, San Diego, Austin and Phoenix, Arizona. So, is the border secure? The problem of law enforcement metrics is that you never know how many trees have fallen in the forest when no one is there to hear them or see them. But the number of people coming into the United States illegally is down and will remain down. And I would say that the greatest bipartisan achievement, which needs the party, seems willing to take credit for in the bipartisan way. The greatest bipartisan achievement over the last generation is the securing and the restoration of the rule of law for the US-Mexican Border. Done in the Clinton Administration, the Bush Administration, and done decisively so in the Obama Administration. We have spent 18 billion dollars a year on border law enforcement. That is more than we spent on the rest of federal law enforcement combined. So, is the border sealed? No. Is it secure? I believed--I believed so.
>> Good afternoon Secretary Bersin. My name is Brian McMillan. I'm a first year here at the Ford School Public Policy. And I decide to ask this question because I think it speaks to a situation a lot us have been through at one point or another, specifically our airports and working with TSA.
^M00:50:09 On particular question, this artist [phonetic] member had an experienced where they were traveling back from Africa. And they'd actually produced some beef jerky in the airport and TSA took away their beef jerky. And the question is at what point does American citizens become--trust of American citizen become compromised by a new security regulations that are almost entirely subjective?
>> Well, first I would argue with the proposition that they're entirely subjective because the whole point of law enforcement rules and regulations is that they give guidance and set frameworks for officers who are supposed to be exercising discretion within those frameworks and they are designed rules. Now, I probably should--TSA is one of the agencies, obviously, that was part of DHS when it was established. They typically would not confiscate food or beef jerky. Ordinarily, I should say, it take responsibility rather than jump on TSA, which seems to be a popular past time. I should probably own up as a former Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection than it was probably accustomed as a Border Protection Officer that confiscated your beef jerky. So, first, we look--the--but here is the rationale for it. So, when DHS was established, and for the first time, we created a Joint Border Management Agency, we took the immigration authorities from justice and the customs authorities that were in the Department of Treasury and combined them with the Agricultural Inspection Services from the Department of Agriculture so that every CBP officer now exercises agriculture authorities, customs authorities, and immigration authorities. And the rule is that, coming from abroad, you cannot bring food into the United States. Now, the argument, which I think is probably a good one, and I don't know the specifics on it, is that beef jerky is not likely to be carrying harmful insects or the kinds of contaminants that would represent a threat to our crop lands, which is the purpose for the agricultural inspection. But assuming for a moment that beef jerky is on the list, that's why it would've been confiscated by CBP. But I think--let's assume for a moment, just for argument's sake, that it wasn't on the list and that a judgment was being made by officers on the street or on, at the port, is that an entirely subjective exercise of discretion? And, you know, ladies and gentlemen, the fact of the matter is every time a law enforcement officer in whatever sphere exercises her or his authority. They're making a judgment, a discretionary judgment. So, that arrests, is there a probably cause of the stop and frisk issue on Reasonable Suspicion raises that. So yes, there is a concern but I would not go so far as to say these are entirely subjective and that every officer is making up his or her rulebook as he--or as they proceed. I'm going to find out where the beef jerky is on the list.
[ Laughter ]
>> Sorry for not properly introducing myself earlier. My name is Diana Won and I'm also a first year MPP student here at the Ford School. Assistant Secretary Bersin, an international student would like to know how the US Government can be trusted by other countries if it spies not only its enemies but also its allies and friends. How can the U.S. Government build trust and positive relationships with its neighbors and friends if it tapes the conversations of presidents, heads of state, including those that are the close friends of the US as in Mexico and Brazil specifically, and not only the presidents but also the presidential candidates?
[ Pause ]
So, in the film--in the film Casablanca, Humphrey Bogart--in fact that some of my younger colleagues, I have never seen Casablanca. I recommend that along with Thomas Cook [assumed spelling]. In the movie, Humphrey Bogart plays an American who runs a restaurant in North Africa. And the Nazis have taken over North Africa. And of course it's one place in town where you can do things that are not acceptable in a polite society or under the law. And in one part of the movie, the French police, the Vichy police operating with the cooperation of the Gestapo raids Rick's [assumed spelling] restaurant or his place of business. And then confronted with what they've found, and Rick says, "Gambling? Gambling taking place here? I'm shocked." And of course, he was running the largest gambling operation in North Africa. So, here is the--here's the problem. I'm not--I understand that the slogan [phonetic] disclosures have created a real issue in terms of not just the big data. Although, I hope I've at least started the debate in your minds if you had question about big data operates in the security realm. But this idea of spying on one another, espionage against countries is actually more of the rules than the exception. And we're not the only ones who have done that, or would do that. Hypocrisy is the homage that vice pays to virtue.
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But in fact, of I believe that this series of disclosures will lead to discussions and already have about ground rules and if my points earlier today about globalization and the collision of the Westphalian system with the globalize world, it seems to me that those discussions need to be hand. There are countries in which there are understandings about limits. I think those discussions could be had more broadly and probably will.
>> Our next question has to do with the security of big data. And if the government is going to use big data, how can it protect technology from being--the technology from being hacked or cracked. And then the follow up question would be, does the US shares its data with other countries, and if so, how can we ensure its security?
>> So, limiting my answer to the area that I know and I know as unclassified. On commercial data, we do have arrangements in which data relating to passengers and cargo will be shared with those countries with whom we had agreements providing for that kind of exchange. On the security issue, there is a obligation with regard to all of the travel data and all of the cargo data that's maintained by DHS are their two obligations. One is that we maintain it in confidence and the second is that we use it only for the purpose for which it was collected. And that in the context of DHS has been maintained in part because of the privacy protection is built in and the discussions that those who collect the data, analyze it, and disseminate it must do it in concert with the privacy office and the privacy impact statements that are required. The technological security is a constant concern and particularly up now, considerable effort is being made to build in security against hacking. And to date, that data has not been--has not been--data security system has not been breached.
^M01:00:04 It's not to say that the challenge does not remained. It does. And it's a concern. And will continue to be a concern.
[ Pause ]
>> In line with this question is also about big data. So, why isn't the US using CCTV moderating--monitoring like the UK to increase security?
>> In certain areas in the United States, that kind of monitoring of street life and traffic patterns is being done. New York City increasingly relies on CCTV monitoring. Most industrial sites and business sites now involve the monitoring. The discovery of the Tsarnaev brothers in the--in that 7-eleven store in Boston was a function of CCTV monitoring. The issue that is in the back of all minds is where are the limits? And I suggest that when it comes to participation in the modern world. Whether in the business or social capacity that we have court cases that are quite well-established that define through the 4th amendment what the limits on law enforcement are with regard to the monitoring act of activities. And those cases provide a rich tapestry of rules that I think protect us. The more difficult issues are the ones involving cyber and internet that we see now with regard to commercial firms that monitor our communications and actually look at the substance and then send us advertisements, ads that are based on insights picked up from monitoring communications in the commercial sense. So that if I'm interested in buying a piece of furniture and I mentioned that in an email to my wife. I suddenly end up with ads for furniture in my inbox. I'm prepared to argue that is an invasion, speaking personally that I would like to say something about. So, these are the issues though, that why the Ford School of Public Policy is in such an interesting place along with other think tanks and universities around the world. These are issues that are not going away and as I hope I persuaded you in the course of the lecture that the historic American reconciliation of them needs to be looked at. We may yet go back to them, but we certainly need to review them.
>> Our next question once again touches on security and protection at airports. With everything being done in regards to clearing airport security before boarding, is it possible to complete this process reaching the airport? And pre-clear customs before boarding similar to what they're currently do in Canada.
>> So there are two kinds of screening, right, that we're talking about. One is screening against known threats, that is to say when you indicate you're flying to London or flying to Beijing with a car, your name is run against a series of watch lists that on which did place people who were known or suspected to be affiliated with terrorist activities or transnational criminal organizations. That's one form of screening. And that, for the most part is done before you arrive at the airport. Because when you've come to the airport if you are on this so called, "No Fly List", the airline representative will not permit you to actually board the plane or obtain a boarding pass. So that happens before you arrive at the airport. The other screening is a physical screening. The screening that's done by the Transportation Security Administration that looks to see whether or not there are metallic or non-metallic substances and that cannot be done until you actually get to the airport. And your carry ons as your luggage and your person is inspected in as non-intrusively manner as possible.
>> On that note talking about privacy and security, someone had a comment that says, "Instead of the tradeoff between privacy and security maybe we have a tradeoff now between privacy and freedom. Now we have the freedom to travel on airplanes, trains and other public transformation without being killed but we have lost our privacy as a result. Can you speak to this idea?"
[ Pause ]
>> That's this, you know, I talked about the clash between the Westphalian system and globalization. Modern life, the instantaneous dimensions of modern life, the digitization of modern communications, the effective--the [inaudible] presence of others, electronically or personally certainly to Benjamin Franklin would definitely feel as though liberty had eroded. But Benjamin Franklin also is the one who discovered electricity. And he would have appreciated--he would have appreciated the advances that technology have brought. He would have appreciated the fact that in the modern world unlike the world that I was going up in in the late 1950's and the early 60's in which three percent of the world's population was middleclass. Today, 40 percent of the world has the opportunities that didn't past. We can find and restricted to 1/10 that number. And the trend line--the trend line is up. One need only looked at the transformation of East Asia or the Indian subcontinent. And now, again, one could understand what's happening in the Middle East, in the Arab world, the Lavon [phonetic], the Milgram [phonetic], the Arabian Peninsula to understand that is being a expansion of possibility. So, yeah, I think in certain ways of freedom has been restricted. But I think for every way in which our freedom is been restricted, it is been expanded in multiple ways. Think about the access provided by an iPhone. Think about the possibilities inherent in the jet engine. Freedom--Freedom is actually not in my--so if you ask, and if you push me hard enough, I don't think--I feel is there possibilities exist and freedom is expanded in my personal context and for my family recognizing that there are certain ways in which we need to safeguard liberties that are critical to us, and it could be threatened if we don't pay attention to them. And I think about Benjamin Franklin in words or substance [phonetic], he said something like the following, "That those who permit the sacrifice of basic elements of liberty for little bit of safety will end up losing both their safety and their liberty." So I'm aware of that tension, too and I appreciate the questioner's concern. It's one--it's a question we should not stop asking ourselves. But on balance, I think I've rather alive in the 21st century than the 14th.
[ Laughter ]
>> Our last question today should be a little bit easier for you to answer. What kind of advice would you give policy students were interested in pursuing career in Homeland Security?
>> Yeah. So, I was talking to the Dean earlier today about exactly that. The Homeland Security, I started out public service in the Justice Department.
^M01:10:03 I served at state and local levels as well. But the homeland security field, this whole notion of protecting the homeland keeping dangerous people and dangerous things away, and the transnational dimensions of that and the analytic dimensions of that make it a feel that it just actually emerging. We have a whole series of programs and internships presidential management fellows and we just need that. We need to make sure that you are aware of those opportunities. And also when you graduate, you need to keep you eye open on USA jobs because sequestration will end. And we will be hiring and certain cases are hiring particularly in the cyber area. And I would be delighted and look forward to working with the Dean and with the faculty and with students in terms of altering you the possibilities that exist. As I suggested today, I think it's a fertile feel and the needs of--needs good young people who will devote their careers to thinking through issues. I want to thank Ms. Won and Mr. McMillan for the--for the questions and all of you.
>> Just kind of as an ending note. This is more fun than policy related. But who do you cheer for Harvard or Yale?
[ Laughter ]
And which sports did you play?
>> So, this is interesting Ford. The dean mentioned and usually I don't talk about it. But 40 years ago and 55 pounds heavier, I was pretty good football player, not Michigan style.
[ Laughter ]
Although, I did have my moments, but when went to law school--
[ Laughter ]
When I went to law school, I actually played--I coached the Yale team and it was one that permitted graduates assumes to play. And so I'm probably the only person--I'm probably the only person and this will--some Martian graduate student will find a little footnote is that I'm probably the only person who played for Harvard, and beat Yale, and played for Yale, and beat Harvard.
[ Laughter ]
And my loyalty is--I think I'll leave it there.
[ Laughter ]
Thank you very much. It's been a pleasure.
[ Applause ]
>> Well, I like to thank Alan Bersin for his very thoughtful perspective for sharing his views on a very timely challenging and important topic. I'd also like to thank all of you for some very interesting and thoughtful questions as well. Thank you for joining us this afternoon. I hope that you will visit our website and continue to come to future policy talks at the Ford School. A week from today, next Thursday, we are pleased to host former Senator Olympia Snowe and I invite you to come and join for that. We can continue this conversation outside of the auditorium in the Great Hall. We have a reception and I hoped that you will stay. And with that, before I ask for a final thank you for our speaker, I do have to note a commonality with President Ford who of course helped to coach the Yale Football Team as well. And so, part of our extended community, a special thank you from that regard. So please join me in a final thank you to Alan Bersin.
>> Thank you. I appreciate. Thank you.
[ Applause ]
[ Silence ]