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Upcoming Seminar: The future of US Security, Intelligence and Defence: an evening with former White House Trump Advisor, Craig Deare

Patricio Estevez-Soto15 May 2017

We are happy to announce our upcoming seminar “The future of US Security, Intelligence and Defence: an evening with former White House Trump Advisor, Craig Deare“. Join us on Thursday 18th May, 2017 from 17:30 -19:30 at UCL’s Christopher Ingold Building XLG2 Auditorium, Gordon Street, WC1H 0AJ.

We will be joined by Craig Deare, who served as the White House National Security Council (NSC) Advisor to President Donald Trump until recently.

Mr Deare, PhD, has an extensive background in the fields of intelligence, armed forces, and countering organised crime and terrorism.

Recently he published “The tale of two eagles: the U.S.-Mexico bilateral defense relationship in the post Cold War”. This book is a must in the field to understanding the challenges of the intelligence agencies and the role of cooperation when tackling transnational crime.

Spaces are limited, please confirm attendance as soon as possible by registering here.

Review: Open Source Intelligence and Organised Crime seminar

Philip T Doherty1 February 2017

IMG_3912

On Tuesday the 24th of January, we were privileged to welcome Michael Endsor, from King’s College London, to conduct a seminar addressing the factors associated with open source intelligence and the subject of ‘Organised Crime’. Michael is a research associate of the ‘International Centre for Security Analysis’, and eluded to the abundance of information available through social media for the collection, analysis and processing of intelligence.

The boom of social media in the last decade has spread internationally, with the example of Facebook reaching 1.79 billion users at the end of 2016. Michael explained that social media can be used as a ‘database bank’ for the collection of information on various sources, and can positively enable law enforcement agencies to develop social networks within organisations. Furthermore, with the ever growing population of online users, law enforcement can use open source intelligence (OSINT) to better their understanding of the spatial mapping of the demand for illicit products, and their consequent supply chains.

The patterning of identifying criminal activity is observed differently within each of the media sites. However, similarities occur as a trending ‘hashtag’, where the user tags a post with a specific code, enabling other interested users to interact and create online networks. Popular tags include ‘#junkiesofiggg, #dope, #ilovedope, etc.’ Michael’s primary focus within the seminar was ‘Instagram’, as patterns are observable in imaging as well as text. He described the characteristics of certain images, where an individual enjoys flaunting their wealth through designer products, and large sums of cash; while others directly display the illicit product they are trying to sell.

Instagram has tried to block certain hashtags from trending and existing altogether, however this has not seen a reduction in criminal activity, as extra letters have been added to the tag in order to avoid the security protocols. The most popular form of criminal activity on social media is the distribution of drugs.

The advantage to law enforcement is the insight into names/coding of products, the packaging of certain drugs, the regions of distribution (due to geolocation tagging on images), the individuals involved in such a transaction, and the observation of proliferating online networks. Through the analysis of tags, shares and direct messaging (DM), law enforcement are able to trace products back to the distributer are consequently spark an investigation for an arrest. This can also lead to the research into open source hotspot mapping (both temporal and spatial) for specific use of illicit produce and the supply demand markets of these.

 
IMG_3923

Michael’s research paper ‘A structural Analysis of Social Media Networks: A Reference Guide for Analysts & Policymakers’ is a brilliant example of how intelligence can be gathered from public, and even private accounts, of social media.


The views expressed in this blog post are the authors own and do not necessarily represent the views of UCL, the Department of Security and Crime Science or the UCL Organised Crime Research Network.

Upcoming Seminar: Open Source Intelligence and Organised Crime

Patricio Estevez-Soto16 January 2017

We are happy to present our first seminar of 2017: Open Source Intelligence and Organised Crime by Mr Mick Endsor, from Kings College London.

The seminar will be held on Tuesday January 24, at 5 pm, in the teaching room of the Department of Security and Crime Science (35 Tavistock Square, London, WC1H 9EZ). As usual we welcome all who are interested in the topic of organised crime, and the OCRN will provide refreshments for informal networking after the seminar.

Mick Endsor is a research associate at the International Centre for Security Analysis. He holds an MA with Distinction in Intelligence and International Security from King’s College London. Mick previously read History at the University of Leeds, where he obtained a First Class Honours Degree in 2012. A former intern at ICSA, Mick has also worked on secondment at the National Crime Agency where he provided open source intelligence expertise. Mick’s research interests include: open source intelligence, organised crime and intelligence-led approaches to strategy and security.

Seminar Overview:

Open source and social media intelligence offers law enforcement the opportunity to generate insights into a range of criminal activities and organised crime networks that can be integrated with other data sources to better understand organised crime threats. Analysing drug related posts on Instagram provides a case study of how social media information can provide insights into patterns of supply and demand as well as new developments in the illicit drugs market.

Review: Using technology and intelligence to fight human trafficking

uctzhid27 July 2016

by Helden De Paz Mancera * and Ana Lorena Vigil Gomez Haro**

© Patricio Estévez-Soto

© Patricio Estévez-Soto

Last 26th July 2016, the UCL Organised Crime Research Network convened a seminar entitled “Using technology and intelligence to fight human trafficking”. Our guest speakers were Dr Bill Peace, and Lovisa Ladälv from the independent charity Stop the Traffik.

Stop the Traffik (STT) has a prevention approach and focuses on building resilience communities so that they may be able to recognise human trafficking practices and report them in the best way possible, without placing themselves in a dangerous situation. SST has launched three global campaigns with the aim to raise awareness on human trafficking practices in the supply chain of the chocolate, fashion and tea industries on a global scale.

© Florian Hetzel

© Florian Hetzel

STT’s latest project is the Stop APP, which aims to empower communities to report any suspicion of human trafficking worldwide. This information, along with that gathered from different partners, is then analysed in the STT intelligence-led prevention centre and provides analytical products such as traffickers’ profiles, criminal networks, modus operandi and hotspots. By using this type of technology and intelligence, it is possible to identify where human trafficking takes place and how it looks in order to go back to the communities and further their awareness so they may be able to prevent it from happening.

© Florian Hetzel

There is evidence that human trafficking takes place in a community, through a community, and into a community. Hence, everyone can do something to prevent it. Currently, the Stop App has different partners such as IBM, Financial Times, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, amongst others who are becoming more involved in the fight against human trafficking. If you want to get the App in your mobile device please visit: http://www.stopthetraffik.org/uk/page/the-stop-app

*Helden De Paz Mancera is pursuing an MSc in Countering Organised Crime and Terrorism at the UCL Jill Dando Security and Crime Science Institute.

**Ana Lorena Vigil Gomez Haro is pursuing an MA in Intelligence & International Security at King’s College London.

The views expressed in this blog post are the authors own and do not necessarily represent the views of UCL, the Department of Security and Crime Science or the UCL Organised Crime Research Network.