FBI Seeks Open Architecture

The agency wants nothing proprietary in a new video surveillance system.

As I was skimming through a solicitation document the FBI posted surveying vendors that might provide it with new video monitor technology, one word jumped out at me: open.

The FBI is looking for a system that will allow it to monitor video from all sorts of devices, including those it owns itself and those owned by other law enforcement agencies. It also wants to be able to plug tools into the system that help it identify faces and license plates.

A list of requirements notes not only that the FBI is looking for a system with open architecture, meaning its basic building blocks are in the public domain, but also specifies that the system shouldn’t be dependent on any proprietary software. The system should also support open application programming interfaces that don’t require any non-disclosure agreements to run, the request for information states.

This is more evidence that government agencies are increasingly turning to open source systems when they can, rather than proprietary systems that can lock agencies into a single vendor and may be more onerous to update.