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FOREnsic evidence gathering autonomous seNSOR

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - FORENSOR (FOREnsic evidence gathering autonomous seNSOR)

Período documentado: 2016-09-01 hasta 2019-02-28

Law enforcement Agencies (LEAs) used to rely on conventional, man-power based techniques such as interviews and searches to gather forensic evidence. As sophistication of criminals and crimes are increasing, investigators must improve the means available for gathering a body of compelling evidence of a suspect’s involvement in a crime.

Concealed surveillance devices have traditionally proven to be instrumental in this direction, providing irrefutable evidence that can play an important part in bringing criminals to justice. However, current video surveillance systems are usually bulky and complicated, and rely on complex infrastructure to supply power and bandwidth.

The FORENSOR project, started in 09/2015 was aiming to develop and validate a novel ultra-low-power sensor for evidence gathering, able to operate for weeks without infrastructure. The Consortium had a vision of a device, that is not just transmitting images/video, but which can become irreplaceable interactive assistant for LEAs covert investigations.

Now, 42 months later, we are able to demonstrate the success story of small, intelligent and remotely manageable device designed specifically for the needs of LEAs:

- While it is still able to transmit images – it spends most of the time in low-power mode, just waiting for a suspicious activity (say, drug trafficking vessel approaching desolate beach).
- FORENSOR preserve the availability and the integrity of the evidence collected, and is designed to comply with legal/ethical standards, especially with regards to privacy and personal data protection.
- Secure and intelligent communications let such sensors join their forces towards robust evidence management and real time monitoring and control operations.
- Finally, it is designed following ultra-low power consumption paradigm and can successfully operate in desolate areas with poor infrastructure for weeks - or even autonomously!

FORENSOR is not “yet another surveillance camera”. The consortium introduced new modality of surveillance devices – the Event Detector, which we believe can become new page in combating crime.
In the first 18 months the Consortium worked extensively in the communication of the project: the creation of a visual identity, the creation and updating of the project’s website; the setting up of the dissemination and communication strategy, the production of different dissemination materials, among other activities. At the same time, there were many efforts in the creation of a network of stakeholders, and also in disseminating the first results in conferences, workshops or through scientific publications and press releases. During this first period FORENSOR participated in 70 dissemination and communication activities.

From March 2017 until February 2019 (M19-M42) the work was mainly focused on disseminating the project’s results through the organization of the two open workshops in Italy and Spain, but also through the participation in trade fairs, exhibitions, conferences, workshops, bilateral meetings or activities jointly organized with other H2020 projects. It is important to highlight the presence of FORENSOR in important events such as SRE2018 and the 12th meeting of the COU, the Security Trade Fair SICUR 2018, PSCE conference and the FORENSOR scientific workshop within the 14th IEE International Conference on Advanced Video and Signal based Surveillance, among others.

The communication of the project through videos, press releases, websites and social media continued during the second period. In fact during this period FORENSOR had its own social media accounts on Twitter and Facebook. A special focus has been put on the stakeholders’ involvement and feedback, especially LEAs, thanks to a questionnaire available in 14 EU languages and to bilateral meetings with other EU police forces. During this second period FORENSOR participated in 127 dissemination and communication activities.

The FORENSOR Exploitation plans are based on inputs from the consortium and focus on:
a) The exploitation of the FORENSOR system as an integrated system, and
b) The exploitation of individual FORENSOR components and research results.

We have continuously verified LEAs requirements, via involvement of nearly 40 different LEA agencies from 9 countries, presenting to them FORENSOR paradigm and concept, and analyzing their feedback. We have collected analytics regarding most wanted functionalities of Event Detector and regarding most essential tradeoffs, that Law Enforcement Agencies are ready to make (e.g. between size and lifetime, accuracy of detection, false alarms, way of communication, etc.).

Apart from LEA market, we have analyzed exploitation potential of other markets – where unique functionalities of concepts developed and verified in FORENSOR have good innovation potential (transport and logistics companies, financial services providers, local administration and critical infrastructure operators).

Finally, set of individual exploitation has been transferred for evaluation at commercial departments of FORENSOR partners. This includes for example licensing of core sensor patent pending technologies, low-power scene interpretation algorithms, microprocessor for ultra-low power video processing applications, link layer security protocol for wireless network equipment, IoT solutions specifically targeted at precision agriculture and more.
Further commercialization and wider adoption of FORENSOR paradigm and proposed Event Detector modality will have significant socio-economic impact in Europe. Overall, cost of criminal activity consists of at least three parts:
- Cost of prevention of criminal activity;
- Cost of consequences of criminal activity;
- Cost of response to criminal activity.

Unprecedented functionality of Event Detectors, will have solid social-economic impact on all three mentioned pillars of crime costs. This can be well demonstrated by verification of FORENSOR functionality in one of the project’ use cases: illegal drug trafficking.

First, simplicity and small form-factor of the Event Detector not only promises lower price of the equipment used for prevention of criminal activity – but also allows for significant savings in installation and maintenance of the system, due to the fact, that low-power nature of FORENSOR promises virtually autonomous system.

Second. Lievens et al.* reports, that for Belgium alone, “[…] the direct and indirect cost of addictive substances was estimated at 4.6 billion euros in Belgium (419 euros per capita or 1.19% of the GDP) and more than 515,000 healthy years are lost due to substance misuse.” Just think of 515,000 healthy years… for small Belgium! And then, think of ability to cover numerous desolate areas by Event Detectors, which promises to arm LEAs with “smart assistants”, patiently waiting for weeks or even months to detect the death vessel…

And third – specific focus on LEAs and uncompromised attention to handling digital evidence inside FORENSOR system will deliver undisputable evidences and shorter court cases.

Event detector is new, yet unexplored possibility to save property, businesses, damages, health and finally - lives. There is something more about social impact – ethical and proportional surveillance paradigm of FORENSOR (“look for event, not individuals”) will significantly increase citizens’ trust in LEAs.