On the 22nd of November 2022, the European Law Enforcement Research Bulletin of the CEPOL (European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training) published a research paper titled “Artificial Intelligence and Interoperability for Solving Challenges of OSINT and Cross-Border Investigations”. The paper describes a newly proposed Person-Centric OSINT approach using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and interoperability to solve the challenges that emerge during investigations, such as multiple-identity, identity frauds, exchanging Cross-Border information, and the complexity of OSINT investigations. This is a series of blog posts that describes the research.
The paper highlights using artificial intelligence and interoperability for solving the challenges of OSINT and Cross-Border investigations. The four major challenges are multiple-identity, fraudulent identity, cross-border investigations, and OSINT complexity. The multiple-identity and fraudulent identity challenges exist on the national level of the European Member States, and more challenges will emerge between the national level and the central EU level after implementing the new interoperability architecture. The newly established central and national ETIAS “European Travel Information and Authorisation System” units will face the challenge of confirming or rejecting the relations and links between the different encounters of the multiple-identity and fraudulent identity. The main challenge for cross-border investigation is the difficulty of exchanging cross-border information and the non-existence of a proper interoperable information system or a technical solution for exchanging information related to the cross-border investigation. The complexity of OSINT is challenging because only officers with strong information technology skills and background can obtain optimum results from OSINT investigations. In contrast, detectives and investigators with basic IT skills can’t obtain good results from OSINT investigations, either for investigations for solving national or cross-border crimes.
Furthermore, the paper highlights the relevant technologies that could be used for solving the mentioned challenges, especially using interoperability and pre-trained Artificial Intelligence algorithms. Moreover, understanding the existing technology limitations is essential for obtaining good results and recommending the best practice for achieving optimal results. Furthermore, introducing a new Person-Centric OSINT approach complies with the UMF “Universal Message Format” standard of European interoperability. The newly introduced Person-Centric OSINT approach will allow the detectives and investigators with basic IT skills to achieve good results in identifying suspects and victims of terrorism and serious crimes without being overwhelmed with learning advanced IT or OSINT.
Moreover, the paper presents three hypothetical cases, recommends the HORUS system for SSI “Single Search Interface” as a practical technical solution for cross-border interoperability and exchanging of cross-border information, and simulating an automated search scenario for identifying an unknown terrorist.
Finally, the paper describes the required training for law enforcement officers in each Member State, and it concludes the required training for compliance with EU interoperability standards, the required support for purchasing and implementing AI, interoperability, and Single Search Interface, the required capacity building for technical, functional, and operational officers, and essential AI training on Facial Recognition and Person-Centric OSINT for cross-border investigations.
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