When the issue of big data and policing is brought together, there’s inevitably comparisons made to the 2002 Steven Spielberg film, Minority Report (which is actually based on a 1956 short story). In this big-budget blockbuster we are taken 50 years into the future where murders have been eliminated because police are able to predict and take action before these crimes occur.
But the main issue with comparing big data and predictive analytics with Spielberg’s world is that the predictions weren’t based on data analysis. They were provided by three psychics called “precogs”.
Away from silver screen though, predictive policing and improved law enforcement through data has become a big (and real) business.
It was recently announced that the Australian Government is giving the Australian Federal Police and Australian Crime Commission $2.6 million to introduce new big data and intelligence-sharing technologies to improve their crime-fighting abilities.
The Australian Federal Police will receive $1.6 million for new tools to help it mine information from social media accounts and news reports and the Australian Crime Commission will get $1 million for a real-time communications platform surveillance teams will use in the field during investigations.
Big data used in a policing context can effectively aid in revealing threats and unlocking criminal plans hidden within data-rich environments such as social media or news reporting.
With the volume of information available online growing at an unprecedented rate, the Australian Police have been swamped with data and this initiative is sure to help them better manage and access important data and then take the right actions.
Where there’s big data, there’s Watson
As data grows, so too does the threat of missing information relating to criminal actions, and this spells more than a few worries for traditional data trawling tasks.
That makes this realm a perfect fit for IBM Watson’s capabilities, which is exactly what Brazilian authorities have done.
To help fight corruption, organised crime, drug trafficking and money laundering, the Ministry of Justice realised they needed to identify and investigate the illicit proceeds of criminal activity.
Financial investigations rely on massive quantities of data from a variety of sources and to move faster than the criminals it sought to catch, the authorities wanted to shorten the time taken to identify illicit assets.
In the past, the laboratories’ investigations required highly skilled investigators to spend thousands of hours rifling through spreadsheets, emails and social media posts.
Using IBM Watson Explorer, Brazilian authorities can now quickly analyse terabytes of structured and unstructured data, enabling rapid detection of illicit assets.
This eliminates thousands of hours of manual investigative and research efforts and uncovers vital information relating to criminal activity both faster and more accurately.
To find out more about harnessing the power and possibilities of big data with Watson, download our infographic.