As online criminal activity evolves, we need to continue R&D

2 February, 2021

Dave Ranner

As online criminal activity evolves, we need to continue R&D

Our goal with technological development is to maximise the resources investigators have to fight online crime and solve cases. Year on year, we hope to support investigators to work to their best abilities to safeguard as many victims and survivors of child sexual exploitation (CSE) as possible. We are also focusing on moving our impact further upstream - looking at ways to disrupt and block illegal activities before they can even take place.

Unfortunately, this is a job that is never done.

Criminal activity, the online criminal environment, and the nature of digital technology itself is constantly evolving. That’s why CameraForensics, and the ecosystem of tech developers in the safety tech and investigative technology industries, place a critical importance on continuous innovation and R&D.

Why we need to keep improving through R&D:

The need to regularly develop technology isn’t necessarily unique to our industry. That being said, there are several realities that make this need particularly integral to our collective progress in tackling online crime.

  • Criminals who work online will eventually understand and learn how to circumvent the digital techniques being used against them. It’s therefore necessary that we always research and build new approaches to overcome this challenge.

  • The digital landscape itself changes at a rapid rate, from image formats to digital devices. The internet is always moving forward technologically, and this is something developers need to constantly stay on top of.

  • Criminals are always becoming more informed; learning new techniques and skills that aid the progress of their activity. Equally, our industry needs to be constantly learning and pushing ourselves through R&D to do the same.

  • As demonstrated by the EU ePrivacy Directive established in December 2020, it’s always a possibility that changes to law and regulation will cause organisations on our side of the fight to adapt their methods.

Our approach to R&D

The CameraForensics team are always working on a steam of innovative research and development projects – plus we’re always on the lookout for more. Our team is excited about researching new capabilities and areas of focus we can expand into. We try to take every measure possible to keep improving the technology behind our platform and the knowledge of these tools to support our users in their jobs every day.

We answer several important questions when choosing a research direction:

Will this help us achieve our goal?

As we’ve said, our goal is to support investigators with the best tools possible, so they can search for, find, and safeguard more people. The overall aim is to help those victimised by CSE crimes, and so all our R&D and research is centred around progressing this goal.

How can we understand the challenges our users face?

We work with investigators or organisations that understand the challenges of law enforcement to help us build more user-focused tools. This way we know that the features of our tools are genuinely needed, and the functionality we’re creating will have tangible benefits. For example, the DevOps Initiative is designed to bring investigators and tech providers together, to encourage collaboration for the betterment of online investigative processes.

RELATED: The importance of user-focused tools in CSE investigations

Do our partners share this goal?

We have created a network of partners to bring together our collective skills and knowledge. We understand that together, we have a better chance of making an impact. What is important to us when partnering with others to innovate however, is ensuring we share the same vision and want to achieve the same result – to help victims and survivors of CSE, grooming, modern slavery, and other online crimes.

If you want to work with us or discuss what we can do together, we’d love to hear from you. Just get in touch.

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