Security Clearance Process

Pilot Program to Monitor Clearance Holder Online User Activity

The Department of Defense (DoD) is rolling out a new pilot program that will monitor current DoD security clearance holder online activity and pair that data up with other known data points in order to develop algorithms that determine normal patterns of user behavior. This consolidated data will then enable the program to detect anomalies or unusual behavior and flag certain information for follow-up. This effort is another part of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) requirements for the Trusted Workforce 2.0. project.

Here is an example of how this may work. John Smith holds a Secret clearance with the Army and is enrolled in this pilot program. The information from SF-86 application he submitted for his clearance is uploaded into the algorithm. Other parts of current Continuous Evaluation monitoring efforts are added in (e.g., arrest, court, and financial records, counterintelligence data, travel records). Then, the John’s online activity is monitored for a period of time to establish a normal baseline. Once all of this data is collected and the algorithm is updated, the program can now monitor him and predict potential changes in stress that may be related to life events, potential insider threat intentions, or other behaviors of concern.

This, in turn, will help managers detect changes in mood, outlook, or behavior and engage in conversation with the employee before punishment becomes necessary, and before the employee starts to hate where they work or what they’re doing. The results of the pilot are scheduled for release in the fall and I am sure it will generate lots of interest from both government agencies and private companies.


  1. Marko,
    What is considered as the “online activity”? Does this include social media? Employer intranets? Sounds like there will be some privacy issues trying to get access to all types of online activity. Can they track what websites individuals go to on their home computers? This just seems like a huge can of worms to me…

  2. The pilot is all voluntary for users to help develop the algorithms and determine what works. If you want a clearance then you will cede certain privacy rights. All employers already have the right to monitor your use and you agree to it before being allowed access.

  3. Yes, but does it include private computer usage or just usage while at the cleared site?

    Like is the govt going to.require clearance holders to install monitoring on thier personal laptop which hasn’t even been anywhere near the office?

  4. This will be interesting to watch it unfold. The IC has always operated on another plane but this…we all agree to various levels of privacy being set aside. I have dealt with it to one degree or another my entire career previous to BI,s. I’m not crazy about it and it could be a slippery slope, but if it keeps some j.o. from flying a plane into another building or snags an insider threat, then so be it.

  5. What expectation of privacy do you have on social media?

  6. Agreed. Be on social media, or have privacy. Pick one.