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Advanced tools for fighting oNline Illegal TrAfficking

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ANITA (Advanced tools for fighting oNline Illegal TrAfficking)

Reporting period: 2018-05-01 to 2019-10-31

ANITA (Advanced tools for fighting oNline Illegal TrAfficking) project aims to collaborate with Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) to design and develop a novel user-centered investigation platform to discover relevant data sources disseminated on Internet (including Darknets) and analyse, enrich and correlate them with the pre-existing officers’ knowledge to support investigations on illegal trafficking activities. To this end, ANITA adopts a multidisciplinary approach, supported by an in-depth criminological analysis, to provide LEAs with performing tools for improving all the investigative phases, starting from the detection and assessment of the data sources, through the different levels of analysis of the heterogeneous (text, audio, video, image) contents, until to suggest potential relevant insights and relationships among criminals, terrorists and organised groups. The ANITA platform aims to deal with the complete investigation management in order to reconstruct the illegal trafficking chain in the context of specific illegal trafficking areas:
• Drugs, counterfeit/falsified medicines and New Psychoactive Substances (NPS)
• Weapons and firearms
• Trafficking related to terrorist activities and funding.
The criminological aspects of the illegal trafficking phenomenon and their potential links with terrorism and terrorist attacks preparation have been studied in WP2. The phenomenological analysis is supporting the project activities starting from the definition of use cases and scenarios, until the technical implementation of the needed to address the investigations.
To guarantee that the ANITA system is respectful of privacy, ethics and data protection legislations, a specific analysis of the ethics and privacy implications has been performed during RP1 in the context of WP3.
Taking care of the user needs and requirements elicited during the first stage, the system specifications have been defined and formalised (WP4). Afterwards the platform design, the work on all technical was has been addressed. A specific methodology to assess the data sources in the Surface Web, Deep Web and Darknets has been defined taking into account input received from end-users.
The selected sources have been used for performing crawling sessions to prepare useful datasets for analysis activities of WP6 and WP7. All partners participated in an accurate image and video annotation process for enhancing video analysis and analytics’ LEAs capabilities in detecting illegal trafficking and terrorist related contents.
The analysis of the implicit and explicit responses of the investigators during their analysis process has been addressed in the context of WP8.
In the context of WP9, the overall user interfaces and widgets were designed and the related mock-ups were proposed to the end-users in order to receive their feedback and refinement requests.
Pilot scenarios have been defined (WP10). A specific plan for training activities and for pilots was defined to train investigators.
The dissemination activities (WP11) have been planned. During the RP1, ANITA has participated to relevant workshops, conference and public events. Furthermore, project results have been disseminated in many other conferences, fairs and workshops. Scientific papers were also realised.
In order to meet the specific objectives for ANITA, significant work has been carried out during the first reporting period towards the achievement of planned objective:
Enhanced investigation analytics services for Deep Web and Dark Nets: Secure environment for extracting information from Darknets was developed; First version of crawlers is available; Integration with the central platform is ongoing; Improvements and enhancement will be implemented according to the feedback will be received by the end-users.
Accurate and efficient Big Data analytics services: A set of visual analysis modules has been developed; The first versions for most multimedia analysis modules specified in the DoW have been developed.
Automated domain knowledge collection, modelling, sharing and reasoning capabilities: A completed set of ontologies to model the domain knowledge for the three selected use cases have been delivered; A completed set of ontologies to enable semantic interoperability, KG representation and knowledge mining mechanisms have been modelled; Specific services to store, search and retrieve relevant entities, events and activities in the KG have been developed.
Integration of the human expert in the investigation analysis loop: The first version for the problem of gaze-based relevance assessment has been developed; A new dataset has been formed.
Understanding the phenomenon and its route causes and defining efficient counter measures and policy making acts: Report on criminological analysis, knowledge generation and key recommendations of online illegal trafficking is available to support technological activities; Report and key recommendations on criminal human factors involved in the online illegal trafficking has been delivered.
Innovative TRL-6 applications for fighting illegal trafficking and criminal activities: The mock-ups of the applications for fighting illegal activities have been implemented during the RP1; First version of the applications for end-users is available; Available tools and services for audio, video, text analysis have been integrated.
Evaluation in real operational environments in the context of real investigation scenarios: Pilot scenarios for evaluation in relevant and operational environment have been designed in cooperation with the ANITA LEAs.
Adherence to social, ethical, privacy and legal requirements: Mapping of data protection and cybersecurity legislative framework performed; List of technical and organizational requirements to make ANITA compliant with the principle of data protection by design has been generated; Ethics and Data Protection Impact Assessment has been produced.

During RP1, the ANITA contribution progress to the expected impact is perfectly in line:
Improved investigation capabilities: through delivering a set of tools and techniques to efficiently address online illegal trafficking of counterfeit/falsified medicines, NPS, drugs, and weapons.
Crimes solved more rapidly reducing societal distress, investigative costs and the impact on victims and their relatives: through detection and monitoring of relevant sources in the surface Web and in the Deep Web, including the Dark Web and the proper management of the monitored sources; delivering a capturing framework for implicit and explicit user feedback; and delivering of tools for incorporation of conscious and subconscious user feedback.
Prevention of more terrorist and criminal endeavours: through delivering of automated analysis tools for online sources related to terrorist endeavours;
LEA officers provided with better tools to help them on their (specialized) daily work: through delivering a web-based investigation system to process online contents and improved investigation services;
Better identification and understanding of criminal activities: accurate set of tools responding to an Ethics-by-Design and Data Protection-by-Design strategy.
ANITA Manifesto