AI Adoption in Law Enforcement
Wed, April 21, 2021

AI Adoption in Law Enforcement

Artificial intelligence has taken the world by storm, promising new innovations and transforming industries across the globe. Throughout the years, AI has increasingly been able to address a wide range of business issues / Photo by: cylonphoto via 123RF

 

Artificial intelligence has taken the world by storm, promising new innovations and transforming industries across the globe. Throughout the years, AI has increasingly been able to address a wide range of business issues. The capabilities of AI technologies are advancing at a remarkable pace. The 2019 Enterprise AI Adoption Study revealed that 85% of the organizations surveyed have a data strategy while 77% have implemented some AI-related technologies in the workplace. About 31% have already seen major business value from their AI efforts. 

The study also showed that the top business functions for gaining the most value from AI are sales (35%) and marketing (32%), while the top technologies include machine learning (34%), chatbots (34%), and robotics (28%). Thus, there has been an increasing demand for tech skills including software development (63%), data analytics (54%), engineering (52%), and AI/machine learning (48%).

“AI can do things previously unimaginable with the volume, velocity, variety, and veracity of big data. It can deliver an edge given the information intensity of all of the processes in asset management,” Amin Rajan, CEO of Create-Research, said. 

AI can not only help businesses but also law enforcement. With the emergence of technology, criminals have found new ways to adapt to and employ the latest technologies to their benefit. New threats and crimes have also been reported in recent years, showing how crime has gone high-tech. Thus, law enforcement authorities are facing so much pressure to address these challenges and equally be prepared to leverage these technologies to better prevent and control crime. 

The Innovation Centre of the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) and the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) believe that it is important for law enforcement to cope with these modern technologies. Fortunately, many countries across the world are exploring the application of AI in the context of law enforcement. Several use cases in law enforcement are already in different stages of development. Some are still in the concept stage, while others are in prototyping or evaluation, or have already been approved for use.

Using Facial Technology and Image Enhancement Technology

In 2019, the American Civil Liberties Union sued the FBI, the Department of Justice, and the Drug Enforcement Agency for the federal agencies' records. They wanted to see if there was any secret surveillance in use nationwide, frightened by how the law enforcement is massively using facial recognition systems. These systems use biometric software to map a person’s facial features from a video or photo and try to match the information on databases to verify a person’s identity.

As of now, many police departments are regularly using facial recognition to find potential crime suspects and witnesses by scanning through millions of photos. The technology can also be used to provide surveillance in public venues like schools and concerts. It has helped authorities in identifying criminals in public spaces. According to Forbes, a global media company focusing on business, investing, technology, entrepreneurship, leadership, and lifestyle, Chinese officers have succeeded in arresting an individual inside a stadium full of people, which would have been impossible without the help of AI. China has even installed numerous cameras in public spaces. This helps the authorities identify and arrest criminals, catching citizens committing petty crimes such as jaywalking and monitoring citizens. 

At the same time, facial recognition has helped the police in identifying and searching for missing people. The technology allows authorities to scan public spaces to spot missing persons or identify suspected human trafficking operations. However, misuse of facial recognition in law enforcement can also be dangerous and risky. Recently, startup Clearview AI developed a facial recognition app that can identify a person using a massive database. The database has more than three billion images, which have been scraped from several social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

While the Clearview app has helped law enforcement solve cases of shoplifting, identity theft, credit card fraud, murder, and child sexual exploitation cases, many are concerned that it can be used wrongfully, delivering false matches for certain groups such as people of color. According to the New York Times, an American newspaper based in New York City with worldwide influence and readership, the app also has other risks since the law enforcement agencies are uploading sensitive photos to the servers.

As of now, many police departments are regularly using facial recognition to find potential crime suspects and witnesses by scanning through millions of photos. The technology can also be used to provide surveillance in public venues like schools and concert / Photo by: Andriy Popov via 123RF

 

The Rise of Robo Cops

Aside from AI tools, law enforcement agencies are also using robots to perform a variety of tasks. For instance, Dubai has introduced robo cops to help fight crime. Currently, the robots are deployed to tourist spots, which are programmed to send live images to police headquarters to identify wanted suspects using a camera. They can also speak six languages and are designed to read facial expressions. Dubai police are planning to have robotic officers make up a quarter of the force by 2030.

Law enforcement deploys robots to accomplish tasks that can be dangerous for humans such as the detonation of bombs or entering unknown environments. Since these robots are equipped with AI technologies, they can easily perform the tasks they have been programmed for. 

How AI Strengthens Law Enforcement

As mentioned, AI helps address many types of crimes, helping law enforcement optimize resources their resources in specific areas and at specific times. For instance, drones with sensors can be used to detect illegal movements such as illegal border crossings, human traffickers, and vessels illegally fishing. At the 2019 OSCE Annual Police Experts Meeting, opening speakers stated that law enforcement authorities and agencies should embrace AI in their work to increase their efficiency and effectiveness. 

“Many have already started to positively apply AI in their work. Just think about AI-enabled algorithms that automatically recognize missing persons or stolen cars. Or advanced crime forecasting tools, such as predictive policing. However, criminal organizations are also quick to adopt new technologies. We have seen it in the past, and AI will be no exception,” OSCE Secretary General Thomas Greminger said. 

According to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the world's largest security-oriented intergovernmental organization, Greminger added that irresponsible or unethical uses of AI can pose unforeseen risks to liberties and privacy rights. Thus, important that there’s a correct balance between effective policing and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms. 

As mentioned, AI helps address many types of crimes, helping law enforcement optimize resources their resources in specific areas and at specific times / Photo by: lightfieldstudios via 123RF