EU: "Policing in a Connected World": Council looks to help police deal with "Novel Actionable Information"


A recent document produced by the Romanian Presidency of the Council takes up the issue of "Policing in a Connected World" and calls for the establishment of new networks and tools so that police forces across the EU can better make use of the "Novel Actionable Information" generated by the "explosion in the number of digital devices used, each generating more data, more diverse and complex types of data, and connections between data."

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See: Policing in a Connected World: Novel Actionable Information - Thematic discussion (5572/19, LIMITE, 15 February 2019, pdf):

"The opportunities offered by rapid technological developments and global connectivity are associated with growing challenges for public authorities in fulfilling their tasks in the virtual space. To keep up with the dynamics of the criminal environment in the digital age and also benefit from technological developments, it is necessary that all law enforcement authorities, including front line officers recognise, understand and use data in day-to-day work.

Since the 1990s there has been an exponential growth of data sharing and of ways to produce new data in an ever more connected world. Since the early 21st century there has been an explosion in the number of digital devices used, each generating more data, more diverse and complex types of data, and connections between data. Moreover, the rapid evolution of information and communication technology offers opportunities to process data quicker and more sophisticatedly."

The paper states that "key challenges for law enforcement" in this context are:

"- to give sense to data, i.e. turning raw data into information and intelligence;
- to identify the relevant data;
- to discover new patterns in data, i.e. create value from structured and unstructured data;
- to make use of the new opportunities offered by the volume and diversity of data;
- to combine, analyse and interpret data to generate operational actions;
- to ensure consistency in the way of working;
- to leverage the opportunities offered by new ICT in an appropriate manner, i.e. understand the role data and information should play in law enforcement work and apply it."

The intention is to adopt a set of Council conclusions by June this year:

"At their informal meeting held in Bucharest on 7 and 8 February 2019, Ministers expressed broad support for the Presidency initiative and confirmed the necessity to harvest the benefits of the digital transformation and to invest in technological capacities. Further to this debate, the Presidency would like to bring further details on the concept of the Novel Actionable Information (NAI) for discussion to COSI [the Council's internal security committee]. The intention of the Presidency is to table Council conclusions on this matter with a view to adoption by June 2019."

It appears that Europol will have a key role in future initiatives and the policing agency has already begun assessing how it could assist Member States in improving "criminal analysis".

A document sent by Europol to the Council in January this year outlines some of the agency's work in this respect: Opportunities for improving Criminal Analysis in Europe: EU Member States’ requirements on criminal analysis (15200/1/19 REV 1, LIMITE, 10 January 2019, pdf):

"The aim of the document is to present Customer Requirements describing the needs and expectations on criminal analysis from the perspective of the law enforcement authorities from the Member States. This document is intended to be used to further improve the collaboration on criminal analysis between Member States and Europol in its role as a Centre of Excellence in crime analysis, and serve as an input for further discussions on criminal analysis under the incoming Council Presidencies."

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