A recent report by the UK’s Serious Organized Crime Agency (SOCA) shows that the Agency is full speed ahead with plans to use powerful data analytics tools to help find and prosecute everything from money laundering to illegal gambling to 419 scams.
The 2011 Annual Report on Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) came out in November from the UK’s Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA). The report found that law enforcement officials have taken advantage of the capabilities of an “enhanced search and analysis system” dubbed ARENA that provides enhanced visualization and data aggregation features, allowing law enforcement officials to link suspicious activity reports (or SARs) to other SARs or law enforcement records that mention people, companies, bank accounts and so on. SOCA is under the supervision of the UK’s Home Office.
According to the report, ARENA system has been used to identify elderly victims of so-called 419 scams in Scotland after banks filed reports about suspicious money transfers. In other incidents highlighted in the report, a network of organized crime figures involved in a mortgage fraud scheme was identified by what’s described as ARENA’s spidering and visualization features. Other cases showed how information on suspicious bank accounts could be linked to other SAR reports, revealing larger patterns of fraud.
SOCA first deployed the ARENA system in November, 2010.
The use of tools such as ARENA has moved more slowly in the U.S. The FBI recently announced that a long-planned Sentinel case management system, a five year project headed by Lockheed Martin that has cost more than $400 million to develop, will need to be postponed, yet again.
Government agencies and the military, as well as private sector firms have also shown interest in powerful analytics platforms, such as that developed by Palantir, to link disparate data sources and make sense of a flood of electronic data and open source intelligence.