With cyber crime and financial fraud soaring, more Long Island, N.Y., businesses are joining InfraGard, FBI's civilian watchdog that counters terrorism threats and protects critical infrastructure.
Brendan Healy, president of the Long Island chapter of InfraGard, told Newsday the group has about 340 members, representing an increase of 16 percent this year. Those members include IT professionals, executives of security guard companies, and financial types. The purpose is to have an open forum with government and industry and to exchange ideas about cyber and other security issues, Healy said.
Since its inception in 1993 in the FBI’s Cleveland field office, InfraGard has grown to have roughly 50 chapters across the nation, and some 40,000 members.
While Long Island entrepreneurs seem to embrace the program, not everyone is as gung-ho. Jay Stanley, a senior policy analyst with the speech, privacy and technology program of the American Civil Liberties Union in Washington, D.C., said the ACLU has been “keeping an eye” on InfraGard.
“We have not received any reports of anything untoward going on, but when you have an organization that seeks to organize private individuals into a law enforcement organization, that raises a lot of questions,” Stanley told Newsday.
Maryann Goldman, a special agent at the FBI’s Manhattan field office, assured InfraGard “is not a corporate tips program,” but acts as the bureau’s outreach program to better serve the private sector and keep the infrastructure safe from terrorists and major crime.