BI turns criminals' worst enemy
Dale Peet, senior industry consultant at SAS discusses the advent of fusion centres and their impact on criminal organsiations operating in and between provinces.
Media Coverage: Publication: ITWeb
Crime-fighting organisations are starting to look to networks like Facebook and Twitter for clues on criminal activity, says SAS' Dale Peet.
Business intelligence (BI) is fast becoming criminals' biggest enemy, as it is being used to combat terrorism, serious and organised crime, as well as fraud.
So says Lieutenant Dale Peet, senior industry consultant at SAS, who was visiting SA last week, in an interview with ITWeb. He points out that BI is just one aspect of a criminal intelligence platform, known as a fusion centre.
"Known as war rooms in SA, fusion centres allow law enforcement bodies to analyse data, identifying trends, criminal organisations, as well as suspects who may be responsible for crimes being committed in and between provinces.”
Peet believes the ultimate goal in the future is developing the ability to forecast criminal activity before it occurs, allowing resources to be allocated to address the issue, reducing the cost of response and providing for a safer community.
“This approach uses search, data management and powerful analytics as another tool available to the police to assist them in making more informed and proactive decisions related to criminal activity.”
He also points out that while most law enforcement agencies have a wealth of data in various formats to work from, they often can't turn this data into intelligence. “Being able to pull the right data, and having the ability to analyse it quickly and efficiently, often makes all the difference when it comes to solving a crime.”
With social media providing a wealth of real-time information, Peet explains, crime-fighting organisations are starting to look to networks like Facebook and Twitter for clues on criminal activity.
“Real-time transaction and behavioural monitoring is becoming critical to preventing Internet fraud. But to get the bigger picture, information needs to be consolidated with other records in a secure environment. To do this, fusion centres have been established across the world and are becoming more and more critical, given the strong link between shared data and successful crime-fighting.”
Peet says the SAS social media analysis tool is designed to comply with national privacy laws. “The default setting allows investigators to mine data from public viewable social media channels only.
“Any sites that are protected and secure require law enforcement to obtain a court order to obtain this protected information, which will be provided by the social media site provider. Direct access to secured sites is not possible unless specifically ordered by the court.”
He also explains that fusion centres are usually implemented at the regional or national level, empowering the police to sift through a large quantity of data and make connections between individuals or groups.
However, he notes that the ability of fusion centres to access or share information across international borders is very difficult due to international treaties and other laws that may prevent this from occurring.
“This approach of bringing silos of information together is helping law enforcement across the world to determine the probability of crimes in particular locations and how these crimes may relate to criminal activity in their jurisdictions.
“Criminal activity is no longer limited to a single area or population, but many times expands across national borders. The hardware, software and services designed for a fusion centre are improving the intelligence processes, enhancing public safety, and preventing and deterring crime, terrorism and other threats, both locally and worldwide.”
Peet says fusion centres are being used across the world. For example, he explains, in the UK, they will play an important role during the Olympic Games this year. “The Public Security team at SAS is currently working with the state of Michigan, in the US, to deploy a primary criminal intelligence platform, which will provide access to more than 600 law enforcement agencies, more than 21 000 police officers, as well as numerous state and federal departments.”