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January 2021
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I2 Marriage made in Heaven

What do you get when the worlds leading analysis and data software provider merges with a leading open source intelligence research institute?

Hopefully an even more successful business providing data faster and more accurately to its service users.

At least that is the outcome i2 CEO Robert Griffin is hoping for as he heralded the group’s newly formed partnership with risk intelligence specialists World Check at its Brussels client conference in June.

In his address to the conference delegates that included representatives from the worlds enforcement and security agencies Chapman promised: -There are exciting times ahead with new product lines in the next 12 months to help you do what you do best.

Between them the two groups will hope to synergise their respective expertise in the field of data mining and intelligence analysis tools.

Improving and expanding research capabilities and intelligence provision between them for their users.

This will further enhance the provision of critical information to agencies confronting illegal activities of terrorists and criminals.

The two groups also provide services to commercial users to protect them from fraud and from entering into business with the wrong sort of partner.

Individuals or organisations that have proven or suspected links with anything from money laundering to corrupt practices.

In a world that is becoming increasingly globalised in terms of transnational jurisdiction it is essential that business organisations seeking partners abroad do their due diligence.

Preliminary and precautionary checks avoid the risk of prosecution, sanctions or damage to their reputations.

I2 has some devilishly clever software systems such as the Analyst’s Notebook and COP-Link that give agency operatives of 2,500 organisations real time access to data bases in over 149 countries access to both open source data and in certain cases secure data banks from across the world.

These organisational users typically include police, frontier control, and customs, military and commercial bodies.

Despite the avowed declaration that the intention of the colossal data mining activity is a force for good, one cannot help being a little unnerved by the power and scope of non governmental organisations to access, monitor and display such extensive amounts of data.

Julian Midwinter i2’s Vice President of Sales reassures us saying: – Unless we are asked to host the data we just provide the systems for the data to sit in.

The organisation then accesses it and uses the data as they want.

We do not have ownership of the data except in a few circumstances. The data banks are mostly the responsibility of the organisations holding them and their decision to share information with other organisations is theirs we just provide the systems to enable that process.

The systems will inevitably trawl through masses of chaff about harmless law abiding citizens before identifying the wheat of intelligence and usable information about the bad guys.

Anybody who still subscribes meaning to the word liberal in the term Liberal Democracy is bound to be unnerved to know that the increasingly ubiquitous social networking sites such as Face book are an area of extensive research to organisations like i2.

Social networking analysis is a vast area of expansion for Open Source Intelligence and the endless trivia that we commit to such sites provide a rich seam of information to Snoopers both benign and malign.

The dilemma of balancing the need to provide extensive information including personal details of relationships, financial and phone records is not lost on i2’s mangers and executives however.

The awareness of i2 executives to their responsibilities and their declared adherence to the rights and privacy protection afforded to citizens by the jurisdiction of their respective individual states goes someway to allaying ones fears.

Julian Midwinter added: -There are strict rules about data retention and we have to adhere to the legal requirements within the end users jurisdiction.

Compliance with various states laws and policies regarding criminal history and intelligence data remains a challenge.

We ensure that all our clients’ sign up to detailed and succinct management agreements that comply with the legal requirements of that state.

There are also auditing systems in place on both sides to ensure against any misuse of data.
However Intelligence technology can be flawed and when it goes wrong it does so badly.

In extremis note the countless wedding parties blown to smithereens in Afghanistan by drone launched missiles after being wrongly identified as Al Queada or Taleban fighters.

In Yemen recently a pro government anti Al Queada tribal leader Jabir Ali al-Shabwani, was mistaken for the Al Queada in the Arabian Peninsulas (AQAP)

The political setback from such a blunder may yet prove decisive in the fight to deny AQAP the use of Yemen as safe haven.

Notwithstanding the limitations and over reliance of technology based intelligence application i2 provide powerful tools in the fight against terror, crime and corruption though we must never lose sight of the fact that such tools are only as good as the human resources operating them.

It is imperative that the data inputted has credible integrity and above all is correct and furthermore that data is utilized intelligently and with prejudice to its context.

Terrorists can and will at some time try to duck under the technological radar replacing their incontinent babble on mobile phones, jihadist websites with individuals bearing personal messages to co conspirators.

Cash couriers will transport cash instead of using Western Union money transfers to purchase weapons and provide logistical support.

Therefore our reliance on such technology platforms must never be total and it is not of itself infallible to the exclusion of human instinct.

Encouragingly this is also not lost on i2 who retain and rely on ongoing links with academic research institutions and expert individuals like John Hopkins University Fellow Dr Kathleen Kiernan.

They work in close consultation with experts such as Dr Kiernan (formerly a security director of the ATF) who are at the cutting edge of applying their knowledge and ongoing research into evolving terrorist trends and tactics.

Input from such sources helps i2 to craft their information and intelligence tools meet the demands of the field agents and analysts.

More prosaically software programmes and analysis tools provided by i2 Group also play a huge role in the billions of day to day checks on passport verification, suspect identification and elimination as well contributing to the investigation of terror and criminal networks and their activities.

The holistic approach practised by i2 combining Human Intelligence with technology means that on the whole most citizens will be glad that we have it in our arsenal than not.

As Dr Kiernan speaking to the conference describes the evolving threat from radicalised individuals from a range of backgrounds embarking on terrorist operations.

She emphasised the need to recruit analysts who were capable of thinking inside and outside the box to defeat them saying: We also need to recruit the services of the hacker, the cracker, even the criminal to stay ahead of the terrorists and the cartels.

At John Hopkins we have an intelligence Masters and we strive to recruit the best and the brightest but it’s a limited commodity so you will have agencies fighting over who is the best.

She praised i2 products application of Human Intelligence to Technological Data Analysis saying: They have the ability to streamline their intelligence to the street analysts needs.

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