Automated telecommunications data analysis
Sieving through phone data records to prepare a case for court, is a rather manual and tedious task. An East of England company has launched a software tool that can recognise all the data formats, cleanse data automatically and produce an evidential and intuitive report. The company wishes to partner with European forensic analysis counterparts to launch in other countries through license agreements and, through commercial agreements with technical assistance, to add various country formats.
The UK company wishes to partner with European forensic companies, in the field of e-discovery, cyber crime, forensic investigations, data analysis. Such partners would be able to acquire usage of the software through licensing agreements and, through commercial agreements with technical assistance work with the UK company to add new, country specific billing formats. The UK company also wishes to partner with European law enforcement agencies providing use of the software tool through licensing agreements and, through commercial agreements with technical support, providing ongoing technical back-up in the use of the tool.
Law enforcement agencies, their analysts and investigators, need to go through a lot of data records to prepare a case for the court, for example: which phones were used where and when a crime took place, where were credit cards used, and so on. This work is called forensic analysis. Nowadays, there is abundant information available for the agencies from the network service providers (NSP). This relates to mobile phones and other devices. The sieving through of such information is often referred to as “comms data analysis” and not just by law enforcers but also defence solicitors who do this. There is a problem though if such work is carried out manually. The NSPs all use different billing formats. Some providers' raw format also uses duplicate rows of event data. Firstly, finding the relevant events is hard enough and is prone to human error. The volumes are large when looking into multiple historic dates, and the formats may well have changed during that time. Secondly, the output needs to be presented in court in a very clear and recognised format. There are tools on the market (or macros developed in-house) for this type of analysis but they seem to struggle with the variety of formats presented to them. A UK company has recently launched a software tool that automates many of the described data handling steps. It is possible, thanks to a programmable rule set for it to be able to handle all the billing formats in use. Similarly, previously unknown formats can quickly be added. The data cleansing function is fully audited and is evidential in the sense that it can present processed files in a format that explains, row-by-row, the cleansing decisions and actions that were performed and the rules that lie behind those actions. A typical piece of work sieving thousands of calls that used to take a couple of hours now takes seconds. The software tool does the initial cleansing, after which relevant questions can be asked such as: - Was there radio coverage at the masts of interest at the time of interest; - Show the call schedules of phone numbers of interest, and map them; - Cross-query and analyse data over target phones and pairs or groups thereof; - Present the results in an intuitive manner, colour coding the different numbers or locations (see the Excel spread sheet screenshot in the Picture). In order to introduce the technology into other European markets, the UK company now wishes to offer the software tool through licensing agreements to European forensic companies, in the field of e-discovery, cyber-crime, forensic investigations and data analysis. They also seek law enforcement agencies to license the software, and optionally provide additional technical services and training through commercial agreements with technical assistance. Another approach is to widen the spectre of available formats jointly with the said companies, through commercial agreements with technical assistance. The partners would help add their national formats into the package that eventually will cover the whole of Europe.
Advantages and innovations
Compared to the current, manual methods for forensic comms data analysis this software tools offers the following advantages and benefits: · Substantial reduction in time for such data analysis from many hours to just seconds resulting in significant savings in the costs incurred in such, essential work. · Through enabling the automation of the process the risk of human error is removed resulting in greater accuracy in presentation of evidence and, in combination with the above point, far greater efficiency in the process. For European forensic companies, the special, inherent flexible rule means that different billing formats for each country can easily be added to ensure that the tool’s unique advantages can be experienced in all countries. Fully auditable trail of cleansing functions is carried out, so that they can be explained and verified at a later stage if necessary.
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