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No Degrees of Separation: Security Clearance in a Socially Networked World

Alistair Croll (Solve For Interesting), Hart Rossman (SAIC), Jeff Jonas (IBM)
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The vetting of candidates, whether for security clearance or political office, involves forms, interviews, and background checks. Ensuring that those candidates, once cleared, retain their clearances requires even more work. But the advent of social networks and the Big Data tools to analyze them may forever change how we examine someone’s past—with important ethical and legal consequences. This panel will look at how open online lifestyles and easy analytics will change the process of security clearance, from the initial vetting of candidates to the tracking of their behavior once cleared and the protection of their digital reputations.

Photo of Alistair Croll

Alistair Croll

Solve For Interesting

Alistair Croll is an entrepreneur with a background in web performance, analytics, cloud computing, and business strategy. In 2001, he cofounded Coradiant (acquired by BMC in 2011) and has since helped launch Rednod, CloudOps, Bitcurrent, Year One Labs, and several other early stage companies. He works with startups on business acceleration and advises a number of larger companies on innovation and technology. 

A sought-after public speaker on data-driven innovation and the impact of technology on society, Alistair has founded and run a variety of conferences, including Cloud Connect, Bitnorth, and the International Startup Festival, and is the chair of O’Reilly’s Strata + Hadoop World conference. He has written several books on technology and business, including the best-selling Lean Analytics.

Alistair tries to mitigate his chronic ADD by writing about far too many things at Solve For Interesting.

Photo of Hart Rossman

Hart Rossman


Hart Rossman is Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for Cyber Security Solutions at SAIC. He also enjoys an appointment as a Senior Research Fellow with the Supply Chain Management Center at the University of Maryland, where he studies cyber supply chain security. Concurrently, Mr. Rossman is a faculty member with the Institute for Applied Network Security (, represents SAIC-IRT in FIRST (, and is a founding member of the Corporate Executive Programme ( He is on the Editorial Board for “IT Professional” magazine, a publication of the IEEE and co-author of their “Insecure IT” column. Mr. Rossman co-authored NIST SP 800-64rev2, “Security Considerations in the System Development Life Cycle”. He has earned a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Secure Software Lifecycle Professional (CSSLP), received his B.A. in Communication from the University Of Maryland, College Park, and received his MBA from the University of Maryland, Robert H. Smith School of Business.

Photo of Jeff Jonas

Jeff Jonas


Jeff Jonas is an IBM Fellow and chief scientist of Context Computing. His work in context-aware computing was originally developed at Systems Research & Development (SRD), founded by Jonas in 1985, and acquired by IBM in January, 2005.

Prior to SRD’s acquisition, Jonas spearheaded the design and development of a number of innovative systems, including technology used by the Las Vegas gaming industry. One such innovation played a pivotal role in protecting that industry from aggressive card count teams. The most notable, known as the “MIT team,” was featured in the book Bringing Down the House, and the movie “21. This work has also been featured in documentaries aired on The Discovery Channel, Learning Channel, and the Travel Channel, among others.

Following an investment in 2001 by In-Q-Tel, the venture capital arm of the CIA, SRD began playing a role in America’s national security and counterterrorism mission. One significant contribution included an analysis of the connections between the individual 9/11 terrorists. This link analysis is now taught in universities and has been widely cited by think tanks and the media.

Today, Jonas is working on a new generation of context computing code named “G2.” This technology will be used by organizations to make better decisions, faster. This unique technology will play a wide range of roles, ranging from advanced anti-money laundering detection and continuous insider threat monitoring, to forecasting asteroid impacts.

Jonas’ work has received wide media attention from the Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Fortune Magazine, MSNBC, and National Public Radio. A highly sought after speaker, Jonas travels the globe discussing innovation, national security, and privacy with government leaders, industry executives, and leading global think tanks. He is on the boards of the US Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF) and the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), a senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), and a distinguished engineer of information systems (adjunct) at Singapore Management University (SMU). He is currently the author or co-author of 11 patents and has recently been awarded an honorary Ph.D. Degree in Science from Claremont Graduate University; the award was presented at Claremont’s commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 2015.

Jonas was briefly a quadriplegic in 1988 following a car accident. Since then, he has fully recovered to compete in over 40 Ironman triathlons around the world. He has three wonderful children that he raised as a single father.

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