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LINGUANET - Combating crime across borders

The LINGUANET project is one of twenty projects selected under the first call for proposals for the European Community's specific RTD programme in the field of Telematics Applications of common interest. Its aim is to support the exchange of information between regional police...
The LINGUANET project is one of twenty projects selected under the first call for proposals for the European Community's specific RTD programme in the field of Telematics Applications of common interest. Its aim is to support the exchange of information between regional police forces in different Member States by providing a secure and effective multilingual communications system.

Close cooperation between police forces in Europe is needed in order to control the movements of cross-border and organized crime. The key to achieving this is clear communication between police officers in different regions and countries. Language is, however, often a major barrier to rapid information exchange between regional police forces of different Member States.

The LINGUANET project, initially launched in October 1995, aims to bridge this language gap by providing secure cross-border communications, including features such as multilingual text, speech and graphics, for police forces and emergency services. LINGUANET communication terminals are now used by 22 police forces in six EU Member States (Belgium, Denmark, France, The Netherlands, Spain and the UK).

One of the key features of LINGUANET is its pre-formatted messages which are instantly forwarded in the recipient's language. Users simply complete boxes which provide essential information such as a suspect's name, date of birth, nationality, passport number, clothes or hair colour. Additional information can include images, such as fingerprints or a photograph. LINGUANET also offers an on-line chat function in the user's mother tongue, assisted by an electronic dictionary.

The LINGUANET project is run by Prolingua Ltd., a company specialized in language telematics, based in Cambridge, UK. Upgrades and new features are being developed by Prolingua together with Dutch electronics giant, Philips. These will include speech recognition and the capacity to translate text into speech for message transmission via operational radio systems.

Plans are also already being made to adapt the LINGUANET system to other applications. These could include communications systems for the medical services or civil defence, or for the effective management of trans-national crises (earthquakes, industrial disasters, serious sea or river pollution or major maritime accidents).

Source: Information Society Project Office

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