European Consortium working on search tools for analysing big data

Over the next four years, a European Consortium of more than thirty European parties will be working on the development of various tools for making reliable information rapidly accessible from big data. The European Commission has made a total amount of approximately 12 million euros available for this project. The Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI) is also participating in this project.

Researchers from the NFI will be developing search tools for finding and linking biometric features from large quantities of digital data. One example is a suspect who is seen in a large number of photos and who may be recognised on the basis on biometric features (e.g. face, clothes and/or build).

Big Data

Recognising patterns

The NFI will also be working on so-called ‘weak signal detection’. These are small items of information that in themselves may seem trivial, but which may prove to be essential in tracing a suspect. “Think, for instance, of specific words that may be used by suspects to conceal their crimes. The method we want to develop in the next few years is intended to recognise patterns in the mass of small weak signals”, said Zeno Geradts, one of NFI’s scientific researchers.

Forensic toolbox

Over the next four years, the thirty parties will be working on the ‘forensic toolbox’, which should ultimately produce a large number of open source search instruments.

As a result, parties throughout the world will be able to use this toolbox at the end of the project.

The NFI will be able to use these search tools in the Hansken forensic search engine, which was jointly developed by the NFI and the police and which entered use in October 2015.

The Consortium will meet in Madrid on 13 and 14 September 2016 to explore all of the possibilities and to consult on who exactly will be playing which role in the project and how exactly it will be carried out. In addition to the NFI, the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) and the University of Amsterdam will also be participating.