Dr. Sebastian Höhn, managing director of the Institute for Security and Society at the Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg
Sometimes crime investigations are slowed or even brought to a standstill because of unexpected challenges. While data protection and privacy are important values in the German Constitution, to protect German citizens, can sometimes hamper the fight against crime. The restrictive situation creates hurdles for optimizing solutions regarding resolving and even preventing crimes.
Since the offenders do not care about the borders of the states inside of Germany, the criminal investigation has to operate across borders. In federal Germany, where the police law are the responsibility of each state, the data exchange between the states is a particular challenge. To combat this, The Centre for Security and Society at the University of Freiburg has identified the legal requirements of federal data exchange and IBM has established a Crime Information Platform that promotes the exchange of data across states while still meeting these legal requirements. Another focus is the exploration of current social changes and their impact on the police’s investigative techniques, such as the increasing virtualization of how people communicate and share information in a digitized world.
The IBM Crime Information Platform provides an analytics solution to facilitate the investigative work of police officers across state boundaries. It helps to analyze document records and file data, and at the same time, guarantees compliance with different data-protection policies.
With Germany’s federal structure, IBM has the chance to clarify socio-political and legal issues that need to be considered for the development of security technologies. By combining various data sources in the Crime Information Platform, the offenders are identified more efficiently and still conform to state and federal laws. The goal of the cooperation between the Centre for Security and Society and IBM is to investigate legal and social issues of security technology in different application scenarios.
The Crime Information Platform can assist police officers during their investigations. New business intelligence technologies analyze different types of unstructured information such as reports and case records, but also video and audio data, which together account for 80 percent of the information in an investigation case. Its strength lies not only in the near real-time analysis of huge amounts of text and documents, it also reveals hidden meanings and relationships between the parties of a criminal case. Furthermore, it provides facts based on intelligent search algorithms and automatically detects abnormalities. Documents and case files no longer need to be read completely, but distinct facts can be tapped due to the results of the analysis.
The investigator and his work will not be replaced by the Crime Information Platform, instead this powerful toolbox will support investigative work and essentially speed up criminal investigation.