Law Enforcement


On the BBC Newsnight Report on Terrorism and Face Recognition   Recently updated !

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


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 Cooperates with Civica UK Ltd to Help Enable their Digital Biometric Forensic Services Proposition on GCloud

 

Allevate is pleased to be co-operating with Civica UK Ltd.to help enable their service offering on the UK’s Crown Commercial Service Digital Marketplace G-Cloud 8.



Digital Biometric Forensic Services

A holistic service for the management and processing of Forensic Evidence and Records. Providing a central asset management hub and additional best of breed modules for fingerprint, photo and video analysis and face recognition software. Proven integration with third party applications and hosted in a compliant IL3 environment.

Features

  • Civica FileTrail Evidence and Asset Tracking software
  • FISH Forensic Image Scanning Hub
  • MXServer Face Recognition Software
  • Sungard IL3 Compliant Official Assured Zone Managed Cloud Services
  • Full end to end Digital Biometric Forensics Management
  • Complete Audit Trail and Reporting
  • Fully configurable Workflow Dashboards
  • Seamless integration
  • Best of breed applications and hosting
  • Single modular solution

Benefits

  • Fully configurable to meet a wide range of requirements
  • Significant reduction in staff inputting and processing time
  • Demonstrable return on investment
  • Automated barcode and RFID tracking
  • Simple and intuitive interface
  • Faster detection of offenders
  • Extends an organisation’s intelligence base
  • Secure hosting with full Disaster Recovery
  • Relives the strain on existing IT infrastructure
  • Proven track record in this field

Cloud Face Recognition Integrated with Secure Online Crime Reporting Launched in Brasil

 

newsreleaseAllevate’s Cloud-Hosted Face-Searcher Face Recognition Service integrated with the Facewatch secure online crime reporting system is launched in Brasil. This integrated offering, to all organisations large or small, enables the provision of face recognition in the cloud, matching against data-sets created from real-time crime reporting.  

LONDON, UK and Rio de Janeiro, Brasil 17 August 2016:  Allevate today announces the launch of its Face-Searcher service, enabling organisations, large or small, to utilise facial recognition as a hosted cloud service. Additionally, Facewatch, the secure online crime reporting system, announces immediate availability of an integrated Facewatch and Face-Searcher offering, launching initially in Brasil.

Facewatch enables organisations to report crimes online and submit moving and still CCTV images as evidence to the police, as well as share this imagery between businesses in related subscribed groups (in compliance with Data Protection guidelines) to reduce crime.

Allevate’s Face-Searcher service enables organisations to utilise facial recognition as a hosted cloud service. It requires minimal capital outlay, incorporates advanced, world-class face recognition technology and eliminates the need to install or maintain a complicated software infrastructure or related compute platform on your premises. The Face-Searcher Edge component detects and crops faces from retailyour CCTV cameras and submits them to the cloud-service for matching.

Facewatch subscribers can now instantly and automatically share their images of Subjects of Interest to Face-Searcher’s watchlists, thereby allowing real-time watchlist alerting to any device connected to Facewatch’s integrated alert management system. This integrated offering can now help businesses prevent crime by warning them if someone who enters their premises is on a watchlist of known offenders.

Simon Gordon, of Facewatch, says “A major factor that has hindered the wide-scale adoption of face recognition by business has been the requirement to install and manage costly and complex software. Allevate’s cloud-hosted SaaS offering removes this headache and enables businesses to benefit from the accuracy of the industry’s best face recognition algorithms in a cloud-enabled shared-services environment with a simple easy to understand monthly subscription fee.”

Carl Gohringer, of Allevate, continues “The best face-recognition technology in the world is useless unless businesses have accurate and reliable subject matter to match against. Facewatch has already proven invaluable in enabling businesses to seamlessly interact with their local police. Now, they can co-operate by sharing this same imagery amongst their local business groups.”

Face-Searcher is built on the industry-proven enterprise-grade MXSERVERTM platform enabling automated facial detection and recognition, developed by Tygart Technology, Inc. MXSERVERTM is the only biometric search engine on the market designed to handle Big Data (processing massive amounts of photos and videos) by leveraging a cloud-based architecture for faster parallel processing of services.  MXSERVERTM is proven and utilised by Defence, Intelligence and Law Enforcement organisations and has also been used to enhance security at major events, such as the 2015 European Games, a major international sporting event.

This integrated offering is being made available in Brasil by our local partner, Staff Security Ltd. Humberto Bambira, of Staff Security, says “We have been developing this exciting opportunity for the mass market rollout of facial recognition in Brasil with Facewatch for two years and I am delighted to see the launch of the service.”


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 Identification
  • 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 Facewatch

Founded in London in 2010, Facewatch has worked with UK policing to create the world’s first private sector crime reporting platform that enables business and police to share information securely and instantly.

Visit us at http://www.facewatch.co.uk,  email us at info@facewatch.co.uk, call us on +44 20 7930 3225 and follow us at @Facewatch.

 

About Tygart Technology, Inc.

Tygart Technology, Inc. is a leading provider of enterprise-grade video and photographic analysis and biometric recognition systems.  Tygart provides the U.S. Military, Intelligence Community and Law Enforcement markets with innovative software solutions that manage and automate the processing of massive volumes of digital video and photograph collections.

Visit us at www.tygart.com or call 1-304-363-6855.

 


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.


Video:Enhancing Public Safety with Automated Media Analysis

 

Allevate Presents MXSERVER from Tygart Technology

Security concerns are increasing. Incidents of public disorder and organized crime are on the rise.

The challenges for security services grow more complex. The 7/7 and Boston bombings vividly illustrated the impact of smaller, less sophisticated and more fragmented extremist activities.

Simultaneously, Governments are implementing the most severe budget cuts of recent times. In this landscape, technology can play an increasingly vital role in more efficiently enhancing public safety.

Our security services are faced with a relentless increase in digital media – from police body cameras , online sources such as Facebook and YouTube, confiscated phones and computers and, increasingly, “crowd-sourced” from members of the public.

Allevate is offering MXSERVER from Tygart Technology, a solution that can ingest, analyse and index huge quantities of video and photo media – identifying and highlighting useable intelligence. Trained investigators are freed to intelligently apply their skills without having to view countless hours of media.

Working with Allevate, our security services can more efficiently enhance public safety. We help unlock the intelligence within the vast amounts of media available to police faster than ever before, freeing them to focus on what they are trained to do best – solving and preventing crime and terrorism.


Allevate Seeking UK Policing SME to Join Our Team as an Associate Partner

Our enhanced team fully integrated and functioning well! Now looking to further expand the team with a senior policing subject matter expert, suited to a retired senior UK police officer looking to get involved in an exciting new public safety venture with a strong passion to continue to make a difference and improve the safety of society. 

 


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.


Article: Intelligence and Efficiency through On-Demand Media Analysis using Face Recognition

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

Governments are implementing the most severe budget cuts of recent times. Against this backdrop, threats from terrorism, organised crime and public disorder continue to rise. Yet recent statistics in the UK demonstrate that authorities can remain resilient and still ensure law-and-order. The targeted application of technology can further increase resilience and the readiness to respond to major events. The relentless advance in the accuracy of face recognition technology, increase in the availability of digital media and mass availability of cheap computing power now provide unique opportunities to meet challenging budgets by drastically enhancing the operational efficiency of forensic investigators while even further enhancing public safety. Digital media can be bulk-ingested in an automated fashion to be processed in a cloud computing environment to identify and extract potential actionable intelligence. Processing is continuous, consistent and predictable. Multiple identification technologies can be deployed and the most suitable algorithms integrated to meeting evolving requirements. Analysts can now focus on investigating and confirming suggested results rather than having to manually watch countless hours of media in the hope of stumbling across the required information. Expanding beyond traditional sources of media is increasingly being accomplished by engaging the public and crowd-sourcing intelligence in response to incidents.

Having previously written on the subject of the application of face recognition in airports[i] and privacy concerns of face recognition when used by retail[ii], this article focusses on the application of face recognition to support bulk processing of media by what has traditionally been the first and thus far most proliferate user of biometric technologies: law enforcement. The convergence of multiple advancements now provides a whole new set of opportunities to use identification technologies in manners that provide benefits that are only now being realised.

1.A Need for Enhanced Safety and Operational Efficiency

Austerity is the order of the day and public budgets are being slashed. Against this backdrop, security risks are continuously increasing. The threat from terrorism, organised crime and public disorder is not abating. Indeed, as reported by the BBC News on the 17th July 2013[iii], the threat landscape is “substantial” and becoming ever more fragmented, consisting of a greater number of smaller and less sophisticated plots.

However, the UK’s police forces have demonstrated that it is possible to maintain and even improve upon public safety despite the relentless pressure of austerity. Recent reports indicate that crime in the UK is at an historic low, being at its lowest level since 1981 [iv]. As always, it appears that necessity is the mother of invention and it is likely that technology is playing an innovative role in improving police efficiency.

What is not apparent from these recent reports, however, is the current level of readiness to respond to a major event. Indeed, the UK’s Police Federation, the body representing rank and file police officers, warns that the police “could not handle more riots”[v] after the budget cuts and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) warns that neighbourhood policing risks being “eroded”. [vi]

There is a need to enhance public safety whilst reducing public operational budgets.

2. A Relentless Increase in Digital Media

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

  • Computer hard drives.
  • Mobile phones and portable cameras.eye
  • Flash memory devices.
  • Online sources on the Internet such as Facebook and YouTube.

Additionally, when tragic events or social disorder occur, investigators have a long and arduous task of reviewing countless hours of CCTV footage, 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 scrutiny will deliver concise and consistent information in a fraction of the time taken by operators undertaking the task completely manually.

3. An Automated Media Processing and Exploitation Solution

Police, intelligence and other public order agencies would benefit from the application of a powerful media processing solution designed to process, ingest, analyse and index in an automated fashion very large quantities of photographs and videos to transform them into usable assets. 

Allevate is offering MXSERVER[vii], already operationally proven with US Federal agencies, to EU agencies to address the issues raised in this article..

Such an automated solution ingests and processes media from multiple sources. Once processed, law enforcement 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 via a web-based interface.
  • 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) in the media to enhance investigations and association of data.
  • Integration into existing system environments, databases and components via a flexible API.

 

3.1  Incorporating Other Detection Capabilities

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

  • Automatic Number Plate Recognition. (ANPR)
  • Voice Biometrics.
  • Object / Logo Recognition.
    (Other identifying features can be used to track individuals through other processed media.)
  • Scene Recognition
    (Identify similarities in the entire frame, often used in child-exploitation investigations)

Vendor independence allows the use best-of-breed algorithms.

3.2  Biographic Filtering and Fuzzy Match Capability

Forensic investigations are complex and require a holistic view of all available data. This involves not only analysing media, but making full use of all textual and biographic data available as well. This can include text from files recovered from hard drives and other storage devices, online sources, metadata associated with photo or video files and data entered by investigators during the investigation.

Traditional Boolean search techniques only work within a black and white, true and false paradigm. More applicable within a complicated forensic analysis are techniques that use advanced “fuzzy” algorithms that to calculate similarities and aggregate match scores using multiple criteria to enable a “shades of grey” analysis.

Such an approach can fuse match scores across multiple disparate search criteria and even allows for fusion and aggregation of search results across multiple biometric and biographic criteria.

The use of media metadata and other biographic data further refines biometric matching.

3.3  Working with Geo-Location Data

An ever-increasing amount of media available to investigators is captured on mobile devices and cameras affixed with location determining technology. This includes media obtained from CCTV, confiscated hardware and devices, online sources and voluntarily made available by members of the public. The majority of the time, this geo-location data is incorporated into the media metadata, thereby providing significant potential to further enhance the analysis of the media. For example, geo-location can be used to:

  • Compartmentalise and refine analysis by location of where the media was created.
  • 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

3.4  Architecture and Integration with Existing Systems

There are significant similarities in organisation and methods of operation in many western law enforcement agencies facilitating increased levels of co-operation. Operational systems should support full control of information and data as well as have sufficient in-built flexibility to enable authorised data exchanges.

In addition to utilising COTS components, adhering to common standards and being cloud-architected 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 for processing.
  • Dynamic alteration and sharing of watchlists, media, system-generated results and operator analysis.

3.5  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 cloud offerings.
    (UK accreditation of IL0 to IL3 is available via hosting partners)
  • Fully host the solution on their own private and secure premises and datacentres.
  • Deploy in a hybrid manner.
    (Thereby taking advantage of external processing power whilst retaining the most secret data) 

3.6  Working Hand-in-Glove with Trained Forensic Investigators

The human operator will always remain the critical and essential part of intelligence analysis; media analysis solutions are not designed to replace the intricate skills and knowledge of trained investigators. Rather, the operator is enabled to intelligently direct and apply their extensive 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 to confirm or deny them.

4. Potential Use Cases

There are myriad different applications of a solution architecture as described herein within military, law enforcement, intelligence and public site security agencies. These are summarised into three broad categories:

4.1  Time Critical Investigations, Media of Critical Importance

In certain major incidents, timeliness of response is of the essence. Authorities need to quickly process evidence to identify and apprehend individuals. The scale of the investigation is often huge and the amount of media that needs to be processed massive. Examples include terrorist events such as the recent Boston bombing and the Woolwich attack in South London.

Often, the media acquired in these instances is of such critical importance that the authorities may choose to review it all in its entirety, frame-by-frame. However, in the early stages after the incident, decisive and immediate action is critical. Rather than having to sift through the media in a random or sequential fashion, a media analysis solution can quickly direct the investigators to the portions of the media that are most likely to deliver immediate results. Full review of the media can be conducted during subsequent stages of the investigation.

4.2  Bulk Ingestion of Media Arising from Criminal Investigations

During routine operations or specific criminal investigations, authorities may recover significant quantities of media on confiscated hard drives, mobile phones, flash / thumb drives and other sources that need to be processed to either further the investigation or to assist in building an evidence base for criminal prosecution.

Examples include:

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

This media can be bulk ingested in an automated fashion to provide the 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 and the time consuming nature doing so. Examples include:

  • Media from specific cameras installed at high-profile or sensitive locations.
  • Media from known or suspect online sources or accounts from social media sites.
  • Media made available to the authorities by the general public.

Intelligence in these sources may be missed entirely and never acted upon.

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

5. A Compelling Business Case

The solution and optional IaaS / SaaS components can be made available on a monthly service-charge basis, thereby requiring a minimal capital outlay and enabling a compelling operating expenditure business model.

Whilst the human operator is an essential part of intelligence analysis, an entry level solution 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 and training by focussing on the analysis of results generated by the solution in a more focused effort 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. Engaging the Public to Crowd-Source Media to aid Investigations

Increasingly, especially from crowded public events, authorities are making greater use of media captured intelligence in the form of photographs and videos that have been recorded by members of the public.

With the advent of smartphones, almost everybody has a high quality camera in their pocket.

Most members of society would welcome the opportunity to assist the authorities with their investigations, but often do not know how or are fearful of being involved.

Allevate’s proposed PublicEye service is aimed at empowering the public to take a greater collective social responsibility and assist law enforcement in much the same manner as the phenomenally successful CrimeWatch. It enables members of the public to (at their discretion) upload media directly from their mobile phone or other internet device to a public portal for processing and dissemination to the relevant authorities.

A PublicEye portal could be used:

  • In response to appeals by the police to the public who were present at an event or disturbance.
  • When individuals witness a crime being committed.
  • Upon suspected sightings of missing persons or individuals wanted by the authorities.

A PublicEye enables the authorities to crowd-source media to augment their own sources.
 

7. Summary

In the UK, MXSERVER is available on the G-Cloud catalogue [viii]which is designed to provide a streamlined process for buying ICT products and services as a commodity without having to invite tenders from suppliers.

Security concerns are ever increasing. However, public budgets are being slashed. Law enforcement agencies are rising to the challenge of implementing budget cuts partly through the focussed application of technology. The accuracy of face recognition has increased dramatically over the past 10 years. This, coupled with the massive increase in the creation of digital media and the availability of cheap computing, now 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 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.

Additionally, the availability of smartphones means almost everybody is carrying in their pocket a high quality camera. The ability to process media rapidly and cheaply means the authorities will be able to, on a continuously increasing basis, engage with members of the public to crowd-source media in response to major investigations.

8. About the Author

Carl is the founder of Allevate Limited (http://allevate.com), an organisation that works with law-enforcement, intelligence and government agencies to enhance public safety by ensuring positive identification through the application of biometric and identification technology. With over 20 years’ experience working in the hi-technology and software industry globally, he has significant experience with identification and public safety technologies including databases, PKI and smartcards, and has spent the past 10 years enabling the deployment of biometric technologies to infrastructure projects. Carl started working with biometrics whilst employed by NEC in the UK and Allevate subsequently supported NEC’s global and public safety business internationally.

Residing in the UK since 1993, Carl was born and raised in Canada and holds a Bachelor of Science Degree on Computer Science and Mathematics from the University of Toronto.

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

 Follow us on Twitter: @Allevate

2,774 words


 

[i] Allevate, July 2012:

[iii] BBC News, 17th July 2013
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-23334719

 

[viii] The UK’s G-Cloud Programme is a cross government initiative led by Andy Nelson (Ministry of Justice) supported by Denise McDonagh (Home Office) under the direction of the Chief Information Officer Delivery Board as part of the Government ICT Strategy.

http://allevate.com/news/index.php/2013/05/13/face-recognition-media-exploitation-system-g-cloud-iii-cloudstore/

 


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.

 


Unlocking Intelligence from Multi-media

Driven by growing security concerns arising from increasing terrorist attacks, racial and ethnic disturbances, organised civil unrest, random violence, riots, burglary and physical assaults, the global market for the face and voice biometric technologies is projected to reach US$2.9 billion by the year 2018.

Across Europe, governments and law enforcement agencies are increasingly impotent in their ability to combat a deterioration in public safety. The economic crisis that is increasingly fueling public disorder is also paralysing our police and intelligence agencies with draconian budget cuts.

Having previously invested heavily in infrastructure, these agencies have at their disposal huge volumes of data in the form of media, but have no way to unlock the potential intelligence bonanza it contains. Vast sums are being spent allocating experienced and expensive human capital to rote tasks of watching countless of hours of media in the hope of randomly finding useful information.

A solution to automate this processing to quickly and efficiently unlock actionable intelligence from this staggering amount of data is required. The potential to improve public safety whilst simultaneously enabling the more efficient use of our public finances is huge.


Turn Masses of Video in Archives into Actionable Intelligence

There has been an explosion in digital media. Law enforcement and intelligence agencies have amassed large collections of video and photographs from multiple sources that are stored in multiple file formats. There is a need to automate the processing of this raw data to turn it into actionable intelligence to enable you to “connect the dots”.

Discover how solutions available from Allevate can dramatically save you time and help you to operate more efficiently by appsurveillancelying data mining principles to digital media:

  • Automatically find and match faces from huge stores of videos and photos.
  • Identify individuals from watchlists and track them across multiple videos.
  • Extract faces from video and automatically cross-reference with all other video.
  • Associate multiple videos and photos based upon their active content and the individuals they contain.
  • Apply enhanced link analysis to identity an individual across multiple video sources.
  • Automatically build links between different individuals based on their associations in media, whether they be known or unknown.
  • Automatically and graphically display web-based drill down link analysis diagrams.
  • Determine “Pattern of Life” analysis for specific individuals and flag deviations from the norm.
  • Manage and access your entire video and photo repository from a single web interface. (automatically transforming multiple video formats)
  • Apply powerful analytical tools to your digital media content.

Work more efficiently. Get more results. Exploit the masses of raw media from multiple sources to create actionable intelligence with less manpower.


“From grainy CCTV to a positive ID: Recognising the benefits of surveillance”

Interesting article in London’s Independent newspaper on CCTV surveillance and face biometrics.

Especially interesting is the view of the combination of biometrics over CCTV with artificial intelligence and behavioral recognition, as this does appear to be the way things are moving.

I agree that biometrics, and especially face recognition, can provide huge benefit to society. I also agree that there is a certain level of concern and distrust by large swathes of the population, some of it well-founded, and some of it based on misperception and incorrect knowledge.

In either case, I think it is dangerous to simply dismiss these concerns and objections simply because we feel “we know best”. I believe society can be much better off with the well placed and controlled use of this technology, but I also believe that we should be working with the civil liberties groups rather than fighting them. Ultimately, these systems need to be accepted if they are to succeed, and in order for this to happen, the public has to better understand the benefit to themselves, and have trust in the people using them.


Western Identification Network Selects NEC for Criminal AFIS Across 8 US States

NEC Corporation of America announced that it has been awarded a multiyear contract with the Western Identification Network, Inc. (WIN) to modernize WIN’s multistate criminal identification system across 8 US states.

WIN is a non-profit organisation that provides identification services to law enforcement in: Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, and California (as an interface member).

WIN has been a long-standing customer of NEC America, and this contract was re-competed last year.

The re-award of the contract to NEC is a testament to the skill and efforts of their team in Sacramento, and the quality of the NEC AFIS solutions.

Interestingly, NEC is providing this capability to WIN as a service, thereby eliminating the need for any upfront capital expenditure, and has been doing so long before “cloud” became fashionable.  The solution is entirely owned by NEC and hosted in NEC data centers.