Counter Terror


London Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley Discusses the Current Threat from Terrorism

During an interview on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Today’ programme on Friday, 11 August, Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley, head of National Counter Terrorism Policing, discusses the current threat from terrorism and how this has changed in scale and nature in the past six months.

The full transcript can be found on the London Metropolitan Police Website.

I thought it was an excellent interview when I heard it on the radio; glad to see the transcript.

This challenge will not be met by simply doing more of what has been done. It requires a change of paradigm, re-organisation and the targeted application of technology to enable the experts to do what they are good at, faster and better. All of which are likely to be already underway.

The bits that stand out to me:

1. “there are around 500 active counter-terrorism investigations involving some 3,000 subjects of interest…the numbers are currently growing”

2. “Just to keep on person under surveillance requires a dozen, or even 20 police officers 24-hours a day”

3. “The challenge is how good is our radar at spotting the ripples in the pond further out”

4. “… there are issues about both our systems and how we can improve how we work together and how we connect across the country.”

5. “…this widening cohort of people that we’re concerned about – and I mentioned 3,000 and 20,000 – our ability to keep our radar on them, that’s no longer just a job for police and police and security services … it’s going to take a whole community effect”


Article: Helping to Counter the Terrorist Threat using Face Recognition

Forensic Media Analysis Integrated with Live Surveillance Matching

You can download a PDF copy of this article by clicking this link.

 

Against the backdrop of budget constraints, threats from terrorism, organised crime and public disorder continue to rise. Authorities can remain resilient through the targeted application of technology. Advances in face recognition coupled with the mass availability of digital media and continuously cheaper computing provides unique opportunities to enhance the efficiency of forensic investigations to enhance public safety. Processing of digital media can be automated in a virtualised and elastic computing environment to identify and extract actionable intelligence. Processing is scalable, continuous, consistent and predictable. Analysts can focus on investigating and confirming suggested results rather than watching countless hours of media in the hope of stumbling across intelligence. Such a centralised platform can also be used to search in near real-time faces from any number of remote cameras against centralised watchlists of individuals of interest.

1. A Need for Enhanced Safety and Operational Efficiency

Risks are increasing. Recent events demonstrate that the threat landscape is substantial and becoming more fragmented, consisting of a greater number of smaller and less sophisticated plots. The targeted application of technology can play a key role in improving the efficiency of our police and intelligence agencies and maintaining readiness to both disrupt and respond to major events.

2. A Relentless Increase in Digital Media

The increase in media is relentless. Law enforcement and intelligence agencies have amassed large collections of video and photographic information from multiple sources such as:

  • Digital Forensics (confiscated phones, computers, flash drives etc).
  • Open Source Intelligence (Internet and Dark Web).
  • Crowd- sourced from members of the public (HD cameras on mobile phones are ubiquitous).
  • Police Body Worn Video.

When tragic events or social disorder occur, investigators have a long and arduous task of reviewing countless hours of media, generally with a varying degree of concentration and scrutiny.

A solution that minimises manual effort in the extraction of actionable intelligence from amassed media by automating this process with a consistent and repeatable level of scrutinywill deliver concise and consistent information in a fraction of the time taken by operators undertaking the task manually.

3. An Automated Media Processing and Exploitation Solution

Police, intelligence and other public order agencies can benefit from the application of a powerful media processing solution designed to ingest, analyse and index, in an automated fashion, very large quantities of media from multiple sources to transform them into usable assets. Utilising virtualised and elastic computing environments enables the platform to be rapidly scaled up and down in response to unfolding events.

Once processed, agencies can analyse and make use of the extracted assets and manage them in a centralised repository of information. Data links, associations and metadata inferences can be managed across the whole dataset by multiple users from a single common user interface. Backend processing services are run in a cloud-computing environment, the capacity of which can be configured and incrementally scaled up and down to meet an organisation’s changing demands; peaks arising from specific events can be easily accommodated.

Features include:

  • Automatically find, extract and index faces to enable biometric and biographic searching of media.
  • Create and manage watchlists of people of interest.
  • Find and cross-reference all media instances in which a person of interest has been seen.
  • Identify, locate, and track persons of interest, their associates and their activities across all media.
  • Discover, document and view links between people of interest, their activities and networks.
  • Use of metadata (including geo data) to enhance investigations and association of data.
  • Integration into existing system environments, databases and components.

3.1  Incorporating Other Detection Capabilities

In addition to face recognition, other detection engines can be incorporated, such as:

  • Biographic filtering and Fuzzy Match capability.
  • Automatic Number Plate Recognition. (ANPR)
  • Voice Biometrics.
  • Object / Logo Recognition.

Vendor independence allows the use best-of-breed algorithms. Newer and better algorithms (COTS and GOTS) can be plugged in without having to replace the entire platform.

3.2  Working with Geo-Location Data

An increasing amount of media is captured on devices affixed with location determining technology. Often, this geo-location data is incorporated into the media metadata, thereby providing potential to further enhance the analysis of media. Geo-location can be used to:

  • Compartmentalise and refine analysis by location of media creation.
  • Overlay location of proposed matches onto maps.
  • Chart movements of individuals of interest by location and time of sightings.
  • Link individuals at the same location and time even if they do not appear together in media.

3.3  Architecture and Integration with Existing Systems

In addition to utilising COTS components, open standards and cloud-computing architecture to enable massive scalability, a well delineated scope of functionality and open API enables:

  • Flexibility in customisation and integration with existing systems and workflows.
  • Well-defined mechanisms of loading data and automating ingestion of media.
  • Dynamic alteration and sharing of watchlists, media, system-generated results and operator analysis.

3.4  Hosting, Cloud and Virtualisation Options

Full architectural flexibility enables flexibility of hosting options. Organisations can elect to:

  • Take advantage of IaaS and SaaS options on public sector hosting offerings.
  • Fully self-host the solution on private and secure premises and datacentres.
  • Deploy in a hybrid manner.

Indeed, managed AWS or Azure offerings can be utilised to bulk process media, utilising non-return gateways to propagate identified sensitive data to more secure facilities.

3.5  Working Hand-in-Glove with Trained Forensic Investigators

Humans will always remain the critical and essential part of intelligence analysis; such solutions do not replace the intricate skills and knowledge of trained investigators. Rather, the operator is enabled to intelligently direct and apply their training at suggested results, eliminating the necessity of rote viewing of countless hours of media either in a sequential our random fashion.

Integration of enhanced verification, charting and mapping tools enables operators to conduct detailed analysis of suggested matches and identifications.

 

4 Potential Use Cases

There are multiple applications of a solution as described herein within military, law enforcement, intelligence and public-site security agencies. These are summarised into four broad categories:

4.1  Time Critical Investigations, Media of Critical Importance

Often, authorities need to quickly process evidence to identify and apprehend individuals. The scale of the investigation can be huge and the amount of media that needs to be processed massive.

The media acquired in these instances can be of such critical importance that the authorities may choose to review it all in its entirety. However, immediate and decisive action is critical. Rather than sifting through the media in a random or sequential fashion, a media analysis solution can quickly direct the investigators to portions of the media that are most likely to deliver immediate results. Full review of the media can be conducted afterwards.

4.2  Bulk Ingestion of Media Arising from Criminal Investigations

During routine operations or investigations, authorities may recover significant quantities of media from multiple sources that need to be processed to further the investigation or to assist in building an evidence base for prosecution. Examples include:

  • Military or counter-terror officers raiding terrorist facilities.
  • Specialist organised crime investigators raiding organised crime offices.
  • Child protection officers raiding premises of individuals or organisations involved in child exploitation.

Automating processing provides investigating officers an overall summary of the contents including focus areas for further investigation.

4.3  Continuous Background Processing of Media Sources

Authorities may as a matter of routine have access to masses of media which may contain actionable intelligence, but typically would never be viewed or processed due to a lack of resource. Intelligence in this media may be missed entirely and never acted upon.

This media can now be bulk ingested and processed in an automated fashion to flag relevant intelligence, using operator controlled criteria, to the authorities as required for follow-up processing.

  • Routine and automated processing of accessible media can flag actionable intelligence that may help disrupt future attacks.

4.4  Near Real-Time Watchlist Checking from Live Surveillance Cameras

By integrating any number of remote surveillance cameras to such a centralised matching platform eliminates the need to install and maintain costly local software and hardware to perform local face matching as well as the need to store potentially secure watchlist data locally at the camera locations. The problems associated with live streaming of HD media over low bandwidth network connections is resolved through the application of local face-detection and cropping; only small image files of cropped faces need be sent to the central data centre over encrypted channels.

4.4.1        Centralised Archive of “Seen Faces”

In addition to submitting search probes to the server for searching against one or more watchlists, search probes can be enrolled in a “seen faces” archive which can be interactively or automatically searched (using face recognition) by investigators or when submitting videos for processing.

 

5 A Compelling Business Case

The solution can be made available using a compelling SaaS model. The open and standard nature of the solution ensures it can run in existing on-premise datacentres or outsourced to secure hosting partners.

Whilst the human operator is an essential part of intelligence analysis, an entry-level system empowers the analyst to process up to an order-of-magnitude more media on a daily basis. This enables trained operators to apply their expertise in a more focussed manner than manually watching hour upon hour of media.

Efficiency is dramatically boosted by bulk processing media 24×7 at a constant and predictable level of focus and accuracy: operational staff can focus on analysing results.

 

6 Summary

Security concerns are increasing whilst budgets are limited. The focussed application of technology can improve efficiency and aid law enforcement agencies to rise to this challenge.  The massive increase in the creation of digital media and the availability of cheap computing provides authorities with the ability to bulk ingest and process media in an automated fashion. Results are continuous and predictable. Trained analysts can now focus their skills on investigating suggested results and on intelligence extracted by automated systems. Not only does this provide the ability to process critical media even faster than ever before to respond to time critical investigations, but it also enables authorities to extract intelligence from media sources that in the past may never even have been looked at because of the significant resource this previously would have entailed. The same centralised platform can also be used to search in near real-time faces from any number of remote cameras against centralised watchlists of individuals of interest.


On the BBC Newsnight Report on Terrorism and Face Recognition

Richard Watson’s report on the 20th July edition of BBC Newsnight on the threat of terrorism and and the potential use of face recognition to combat it was informative, balanced and effectively presented the scale of the challenges faced, as well as the challenges in any potential use of the technology.

It’s important to realise that face recognition is not a panacea. But it is an effective tool that can drastically improve the efficiency of our intelligence and police agencies.

 

The figure cited of 40 officers to trail one suspect full time over 20 hours is not off the mark. Ex Chief Constable of the British Transport Police Andrew Trotter neatly summed it when he said “It is a huge labour intensive. Huge, and these people may do nothing for months, years. … And all the time there might be others that needed more attention. That diverts resources from other things…”.

Products such as the one demonstrated by Zak Doffman of Digital Barriers present an excellent example of technology available and typical and effective uses of them. However, Roger Cumming hit the nail on the head when he said “If an alarm is rung through your camera system picking up one of these people, what do you actually do? Because at that state all you’ve got is a positive identification of somebody on a watchlist? Do they represent a threat? Are the planning some sort of attack? Or are they just going about their business?…”.

The use of the technology in itself will pose new challenges.

The demonstrated solution is just one of many that can effectively perform live watchlist alerting on surveillance cameras to positive effect. But I don’t believe this use of face recognition alone represents the greatest benefit to police, and may not sufficiently improve efficiency to warrant the cost and generate a return on the investment.

It is likely that after each of the terrorists attacks in recent months, there was a substantial quantity of video evidence that needed to be manually reviewed at great use of resource. A significant challenge faced by police is the effective and efficient extraction and linking of intelligence from all of this media which can come from multiple sources, including CCTV, body worn video, members of the public, the Internet, the dark Web, news broadcasts and digital forensics (confiscated computers, phones, drives etc).

This represents a phenomenal Big Data challenge which is becoming increasingly solvable with the increasing availability of on-demand and elastic cloud computing paradigms. If we can rapidly process this media (at much greater speed than real time) and extract assets using face recognition and other detection technologies for presentation to reviewing investigators, this will significantly reduce the amount of time they need to laboriously watch it themselves, whilst increasing the intelligence they obtain from it, enabling them to rapidly “connect the dots”.

More actionable and linked intelligence, obtained quicker and cheaper. This can feed the watchlists the live surveillance cameras are searching in an integrated fashion off the same platform.

And perhaps just as importantly, introduce efficiency to feed a business case to help ensure the technology can be feasibly adopted.

You can watch the programme here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006mk25


On the Recent Terror Attack in Manchester

Following the horrendous events in Manchester, our thoughts are foremost with those who have lost friends and family members and with those who will be struggling to recover from unimaginable physical, emotional and mental trauma.

It is increasingly clear that these are no longer isolated events and we must unfortunately brace ourselves to the fact that they may be becoming the new norm in our society, at least for the foreseeable future.

We must also remind ourselves that, unlike in other parts of the world where such atrocities are a daily occurrence, they are still remarkably rare here. Indeed, this week is only the third time the UK Threat Level has been raised to CRITICAL, the first being in 2006 and the second in the following year.

However, this time the UK’s security chiefs feel they have no choice other than to say another attack may be imminent. Nobody at this stage can say for sure whether the suicide bomber Salman Abedi acted alone or with the help of others.

Countering this threat environment is a hugely complicated and multi-faceted endeavour. Perhaps the most important and longest term (and consequently most difficult) element is the geopolitical: harmonising and reducing friction between culturally and religiously diverse societies, embracing this diversity and rejecting isolationism and xenophobia. Here we must trust our politicians and our voice is through the ballot box. This implies, however, an absolute responsibility as individuals to constantly embrace learning and tolerance of the world we live in so we can best instruct those we elect to high office.

Within the near to medium term of our current world reality, defining the appropriate domestic strategy and links with those of our key allies in the fight against extremism is essential. The four pillars of the UK’s Counter Terrorism Strategy (CONTEST) demonstrates a sound awareness of the complexity this entails and they deploy a range of short to long term tactics:

  • PREVENT           to stop people from becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism in the first place.
  • PURSUE         to stop terrorist attacks by detecting, prosecuting and otherwise disrupting those who plot to carry out attacks.
  • PROTECT           to strengthen protection against a terrorist attack and reduce our vulnerability.
  • PREPARE           to mitigate the impact of a terrorist attack where that attack cannot be stopped.

The effectiveness of PURSUE has been demonstrated multiple times in recent history and notably with plot-disrupting arrests in just the past few weeks. We should all be immensely proud and thankful of our security and public services. The reality, though, is that as the threat landscape becomes more fragmented and complicated, consisting of a greater number of smaller and less sophisticated plots feeding off the radicalisation of disenfranchised individuals, it becomes more and more difficult to identify and stop every attack. The importance of PREVENT has been horrendously demonstrated in the past few days and with the recent attack on Westminster Bridge.

The nature of this most recent attack, disturbingly, demonstrates the hallmarks of a more complex and orchestrated suite of activities likely conducted by multiple individuals supporting Abedi. This has predicated the Prime Minister’s decision to elevate the threat level to its highest level. The challenges faced by the police and security services in identifying and apprehending these individuals at such times, when rapidness and timeliness of response is of the essence, are vast.

This investigation is unfolding rapidly, with multiple arrests already being made. The well-rehearsed procedures and tools acquired through years of experience are paying dividends. It is also apparent that, at times such as these, any method or technique to assist over-stretched human resources conduct their activities more efficiently and more rapidly must be considered and welcomed. New and advancing technologies undoubtedly have a role to play and will help shape our ability to both prevent and respond to these threats.

We must not allow the events of the past week to shape or define us. Although of no condolence to those directly affected by these events, we must remain grateful that we live in one of the safest and freest societies in the world. Clearly, we must foster an environment where such extreme beliefs are not allowed to take hold and root them out where and when they do. But, as individuals, we must espouse and remain true to the values that have enabled our society in the first place. Openness, tolerance and above all knowledge of the world, its peoples, cultures and societies will always persevere over ignorance, isolationism, fear and hatred.

Our deepest and most sincere condolences to those who have suffered and lost this week; we cannot even begin to imagine your suffering.

Our utmost gratitude and respect to our public services, police and security services, who fight so tirelessly and put themselves at direct risk to keep us safe.


Allevate Announces Continued Availability of MXSERVER on UK Crown Commercial Service Digital Marketplace (G-Cloud)

newsreleasePowerful Cloud-Enabled Video and Photographic Forensic Analysis System Incorporating Face Recognition is available to all UK government, intelligence and law-enforcement agencies to assist in combatting crime and terrorist activities. MXSERVER automates the bulk-processing of media for forensic analysis and is already proven by US Federal agencies to provide an “Order of Magnitude” efficiency gain and significantly enhanced identification of suspects.

LONDON, UK 23 May 2017:  Allevate today announces the continued availability of MXSERVER on the UK Crown Commercial Service’s Digital Marketplace G-Cloud 9 Framework.  Allevate’s SaaS G-Cloud offering is enabled by Sungard Availability Services, who provides a Secure Managed Cloud IaaS and PaaS platform, with OFFICIAL classification, for UK Government Service Provision.

The below is extracted from our announcement of availability on G-Cloud 8.

Our security services are faced with a relentless increase in digital media — from CCTV and surveillance cameras, police body worn video, online sources such as Facebook and YouTube, confiscated phones and computers and, increasingly, ‘crowd-sourced’ from members of the public. There has been no easy and cost-effective way to access the intelligence this media contains. Experienced and expensive human capital has been assigned the rote task of watching countless hours of video in the hope of finding useful information.

MXSERVER, from Tygart Technology, processes vast amounts of textual, video and photo collections quickly – automatically discovering, grouping and extracting segments depicting people. Using face recognition technology, this solution searches media archives to find other assets which depict individuals of interest. It also indexes the digital media to enable it to be efficiently searched using a photograph of a face, previewed and analysed via an intuitive web-based user interface. Results become available in minutes rather than hours or days because the digital media files are processed in parallel over a distributed cloud-architecture.

Allevate emphasizes that “MXSERVER delivers a Big Data solution for law-enforcement’s growing video and photo assets. It provides a significantly enhanced identification capability that is quicker and more efficient than manually watching video. “

From today, access to both the software and all hosting and storage services are available on Digital Services Marketplace G-Cloud 8 framework using an easy to calculate monthly service fee. The G-Cloud catalogue is open to all public sector clients and is designed to provide a simple streamlined process for buying ICT focused products and services as a commodity without having to invite tenders from suppliers.

About Allevate Limited

Founded in London in 2007, Allevate works with law enforcement, intelligence and government agencies to enhance public safety by ensuring positive identification through the application of biometric and identification technology.

  • Ensure Positive IdentificationCrown-Commercial-Service-Supplier_logo
  • Enhance Public Safety
  • Reduce Operational Costs

Visit us at http://allevate.com , email us at contact@allevate.com, call us on +44 20 3239 6399 and follow us at @Allevate.

About the UK Crown Commercial Service

The UK Crown Commercial Service (CCS) works with both departments and organisations across the whole of the public sector to ensure maximum value is extracted from every commercial relationship and improve the quality of service delivery. The CCS goal is to become the “go-to” place for expert commercial and procurement services.


Happy New Year. A Brief Update from Allevate. See us at Intersec in Dubai

2017 is now well underway so I wanted to take a moment and wish everybody a Happy New Year and provide a brief update.

Face-Searcher launched with Facewatch in Brazil

After having jointly launched Allevate’s new Face-Searcher Face Recognition  as a Service in Brazil last year in partnership with Facewatch, we are very pleased and excited by the uptake of the service that we have been seeing so far.

Upcoming Face-Searcher launch in the UK

Having initially launched our service successfully overseas, we are now working very hard to negotiate hosting agreements with a strategic hosting partner and we will be looking to launch the Face-Searcher service, integrated with Facewatch, in the UK in the near future as a SaaS cloud-service to businesses and organisations.

We already have some notable organisations scheduled to trial our service in the coming weeks who who are looking to enhance the security and improve the safety of crowded places they manage.

If your organisation would like a very easy-to-setup trial, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Seeking International Distributors and Partners

We are strategically seeking to roll-out our integrated SaaS cloud-hosted online crime reporting and face recognition service globally in targeted countries.

We are actively seek organisations to partner with us to enable them to offer our service within their countries. Please contact us to find out more.

Successful Participation Securing Crowded Places Immersive Demonstrator at UK Security Expo

We were very pleased to have participated in the Home Office’s Crowded Places Demonstrator at UK Security Expo at the end of last year. Thank you to very much to our partners Facewatch and Physical Tracking Systems for their support and an extra large thank you to Sungard Availability Systems for their full support in enabling our participation.

See you at Intersec Dubai Next Week, 22-24 January

Allevate is very pleased to be attending Intersec, the world’s leading trade fair for Security, Safety and Fire Protection, in Dubai next week where we have a multiple meetings scheduled with potential clients and partners throughout the Middle East Region.

If you are interested in meeting with us next week in Dubai to discuss how you may benefit from the use of Allevate’s offerings, or to discuss possible partnership and potential to collaborate in the region, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Thank you once again and I look forward to speaking with many of you in 2017.


Allevate Announces Availability of SaaS Face Recognition Service on UK’s Digital Marketplace (G-Cloud 8)

newsreleasePowerful Cloud-Enabled Video and Photographic Forensic Analysis System Incorporating Face Recognition is available to all UK government, intelligence and law-enforcement agencies to assist in combatting crime and terrorist activities. MXSERVER, enabled by Sungard Availability Services, automates the bulk-processing of media for forensic analysis and is already proven by US Federal agencies to provide an “Order of Magnitude” efficiency gain and significantly enhanced identification of suspects.

LONDON, UK 02 August 2016:  Allevate today announces that MXSERVER is available on the UK Crown Commercial Service’s Digital Marketplace G-Cloud 8 Framework.  Allevate’s SaaS G-Cloud offering is enabled by Sungard Availability Services, who provides a Secure Managed Cloud IaaS and PaaS platform, with OFFICIAL classification, for UK Government Service Provision.

Our security services are faced with a relentless increase in digital media — from CCTV and surveillance cameras, police body worn video, online sources such as Facebook and YouTube, confiscated phones and computers and, increasingly, ‘crowd-sourced’ from members of the public. There has been no easy and cost-effective way to access the intelligence this media contains. Experienced and expensive human capital has been assigned the rote task of watching countless hours of video in the hope of finding useful information.

MXSERVER, from Tygart Technology, processes vast amounts of textual, video and photo collections quickly – automatically discovering, grouping and extracting segments depicting people. Using face recognition technology, this solution searches media archives to find other assets which depict individuals of interest. It also indexes the digital media to enable it to be efficiently searched using a photograph of a face, previewed and analysed via an intuitive web-based user interface. Results become available in minutes rather than hours or days because the digital media files are processed in parallel over a distributed cloud-architecture.

Allevate emphasizes that “MXSERVER delivers a Big Data solution for law-enforcement’s growing video and photo assets. It provides a significantly enhanced identification capability that is quicker and more efficient than manually watching video. “

From today, access to both the software and all hosting and storage services are available on Digital Services Marketplace G-Cloud 8 framework using an easy to calculate monthly service fee. The G-Cloud catalogue is open to all public sector clients and is designed to provide a simple streamlined process for buying ICT focused products and services as a commodity without having to invite tenders from suppliers.

About Allevate Limited

Founded in London in 2007, Allevate works with law enforcement, intelligence and government agencies to enhance public safety by ensuring positive identification through the application of biometric and identification technology.

  • Ensure Positive IdentificationCrown-Commercial-Service-Supplier_logo
  • Enhance Public Safety
  • Reduce Operational Costs

Visit us at http://allevate.com , email us at contact@allevate.com, call us on +44 20 3239 6399 and follow us at @Allevate.

About the UK Crown Commercial Service

The UK Crown Commercial Service (CCS) works with both departments and organisations across the whole of the public sector to ensure maximum value is extracted from every commercial relationship and improve the quality of service delivery. The CCS goal is to become the “go-to” place for expert commercial and procurement services.


Allevate is Pleased to be Presenting at the 2014 Counter Terror Expo Conference

… in the Practical Counter Terrorism Conference, Day 2, 301th April, 2014

 

Countering the Terrorist Threat via Digital Media Analysis

  • Exploiting digital media to enhance public safety whilst reducing operational budgets
  • Easy and cost-effective routes to access the intelligence in digital media held by law enforcement and intelligence agencies
  • Using face recognition technology to depict individuals of interest

http://www.counterterrorexpo.com/page.cfm/Link=294/nocache=18122013

 


Incredible Talent Now Working With Allevate

I’m incredibly pleased with the array of talent that is now cooperatively working with Allevate.

Today’s announcement detailing the individuals that are supporting Allevate’s mission to enhance public safety through the application of identification technologies whilst improving the operational efficiency of law enforcement and government agencies reflects on the powerful benefits our solutions can provide.

Amazing biomotric technology is not enough. A scalable and proven cloud-based architecture that blends the matching algorithms in a manner that adopts to the forensic investigation workflow seamlessly, coupled with deep insight of customer challenges and processes, is required to ensure maximum benefit.


Find People Fast in Media using Cloud-Based Face Recognition during Forensic Analysis

When tragic events or social disorder occur, forensic investigators have a long and daunting task of reviewing countless hours of CCTV footage. Increasingly, especially at public events attended by large numbers of people carrying mobile phones with HD cameras, authorities rely on  members of the public to turn in photographs and videos they have taken in the hope that they will contain useful intelligence. Much of this media is already uploaded to public sites such as Facebook and YouTube, providing another rich source of information.

Additionally, police have to review countless hours of media obtained from confiscated computer hard drives, mobile phones and portable cameras and flash memory devices.

Face Recognition?

All of this creates a significant resource burden;  this footage must be watched by people. The application of face recognition technology can play a crucial role in identifying potential suspects.

An Automated Media Processing Cloud

A solution to automate the processing of this staggering amount of media to quickly and efficiently unlock actionable intelligence is required to save significant time and human capital. The ability to automate this would allow the more efficient application of resources as well as massively speed up time-critical investigations.

However, the need goes far beyond the simple application of face recognition technology.

What is needed is a server-based system that can process vast amounts of media quickly to transform files from  mobile phones, flash memory devices, online sources, confiscated computers and hardrives and video surveillance systems into searchable resources. This would enable forensic investigators to work more efficiently and effectively by automatically finding, extracting and matching faces from very large collections of media to discover, document and disseminate information in  real-time.

Such a powerful video and photograph processing architecture should automatically ingest, process, analyse and index hundreds of thousands of photographs and videos in a centralised repository to  glean associations in a cloud environment. Instrumental would be the ability to:

  • Automatically find, extract and index faces to enable  the biometric and biographic searching of media.
  • Create and manage watchlists of people of interest via a web-based interface.
  • Find all instances of photos and videos where a person of interest has been seen.
  • Quickly review and process  media to identify, locate, and track persons of interest, their associates and their activities.
  • Discover, document and diagramtically view  associations between people of interest, their activities and networks.
  • Use media meta-data to geotag video footage and watchlist hits and overlay and present on maps.

Public Facing Cloud-Service to Crowd-Source Media

Finally, a public-facing interface to such a system would enable members of the public to upload their media in a self-service manner to enable quick and ready access by the authorities to this raw data for automatic processing.

Enhance Public Safety and Reduce Budgets

Read about how MXSERVER addresses the AMAIS space (Automated Media Analysis for Intelligence Searching)

This solution is now available to UK public sector on the Government Procurement Service CloudStore – G-Cloud iii Framework as a commodity from the catalogue without having to invite tenders from suppliers.

 


Could Automating Media Processing Aid the Forensic Investigation into the Boston Marathon Bombing?

The horror of the events at the marathon in Boston 2 days ago is still very raw. People are united in their sympathy for the victims and their families, their revulsion of these despicable acts and their solidarity in not succumbing to terror. The FBI vows to “…go to the ends of the Earth to find the bomber” with President Obama openly stating the “…heinous and cowardly…” event to be “…and act of terror”.

The investigation into the bombing is in its nascent phases, with the Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis admitting that they are dealing with the “…most complex crime scene that we have dealt with in the history of our department.” Still, authorities are already honing in on crucial evidence and beginning to release details; BBC news reports that a source close to the investigation told AP news agency that the bombs consisted of explosives placed in 1.6-gallon pressure cookers, one with shards of metal and ball bearings, the other with nails, and placed in black bags that were left on the ground. Images of what appear to be a trigger mechanism have already been released.

Face Recognition?

Forensic investigators have a long and daunting task ahead of them with countless hours of CCTV footage to  pore over, and some people are already suggesting that the application of face recognition technology can play a crucial role in identifying potential suspects. However CCTV footage, especially from older systems that have not been specifically configured for the task, is notoriously unreliable as a source for face recognition.

Perhaps more useful at an event attended by so many, most of whom will have been carrying and using mobile phones and cameras, is the footage acquired by members of the public. Images and video captured by these high-quality devices will potentially be of much greater use than CCTV and authorities have appealed for people to turn in photographs and videos they have taken in the hope that they will contain useful intelligence. Much of this media will already have been uploaded to public sites such as Facebook and YouTube.

 An Automated Media Processing Cloud

A solution to automate the processing of this staggering amount of media to quickly and efficiently unlock actionable intelligence is required to save significant time and human capital. The ability to automate this would allow the more efficient application of resources as well as massively speed up a time-critical investigation.

However, the need goes far beyond the simple application of face recognition technology.

What is needed is a server-based system that can process vast amounts of media quickly to transform files from  mobile phones, flash memory devices, online sources, confiscated computers and hardrives and video surveillance systems into searchable resources. This would enable forensic investigators to work more efficiently and effectively by automatically finding, extracting and matching faces from very large collections of media to discover, document and disseminate information in  real-time.

Such a powerful video and photograph processing architecture should automatically ingest, process, analyse and index hundreds of thousands of photographs and videos in a centralised repository to  glean associations in a cloud environment. Instrumental would be the ability to:

  • Automatically find, extract and index faces to enable  the biometric and biographic searching of media.
  • Create and manage watchlists of people of interest via a web-based interface.
  • Find all instances of photos and videos where a person of interest has been seen.
  • Quickly review and process  media to identify, locate, and track persons of interest, their associates and their activities.
  • Discover, document and view  associations between people of interest, their activities and networks.

Finally, a public-facing interface to such a system would enable members of the public to upload their media in a self-service manner to enable quick and ready access by the authorities to this raw data for automatic processing.