Digital transformation in law enforcement and business can be defined as the transformation of traditional models to new digital (and digital) models. This is perhaps the most important change to modern business in the last 20 years, and law enforcement has been very keen on the implementation of this technology. There are many challenges involved with transforming an organization, but there is also a lot of promise in the results. There are many tools available to the law enforcement executive to assist them in digital transformation. These include:
Computer Vision. This is the ability to recognize certain things about a subject, such as face, hair, or clothing by images captured from a computer. The information is processed automatically to create a high-quality image. Many police departments are using this technology in conjunction with a digital video recorder to record traffic stops, or in cases where capturing motion is critical.
Distributed Cognitive Resources. This is the mapping of a space by using various types of sensing technology. This is often used in conjunction with computer vision. Computer vision for law enforcement is particularly useful because it can be used to quickly and efficiently identify subjects in a chaotic, or even battlefield situation, which may be confused by an image of an assailant.
Video Scanning. In the future, this will likely be one of the main capabilities of law enforcement agencies. It will allow them to capture video footage of subjects without needing to use audio. This would allow the capturing of faces, voice, and facial features. It will be particularly useful for operations conducted at night or in low light situations.
Intelligent Video Surveillance. This falls under the previous title of digital transformation in law enforcement. It refers to the use of digital imaging and video recording devices to detect subjects, in a moving vehicle, at a location. This is particularly useful if the subject is posing a risk. If the vehicle is stopped at a traffic signal, the camera can detect the driver’s motion and utilize the digital transformation process to extract and store images.
Thermal imaging. This falls under the previous title of digital transformational surveillance. It involves the use of infrared scanners or cameras to identify and locate objects. These objects could be anything, such as a piece of luggage, a suspicious bulging bag, or something more mundane.
Multi-domain digital capture. This is the fusion of the previously mentioned transformation methods. Digital capture within a single domain, such as for instance, human surveillance, is known as multi-domain digital capture. Multi-domain digital capture is often used in conjunction with face-recognition technology, such as iris recognition, fingerprint recognition, or retinal scanning.
There are other interesting applications for this technology beyond law enforcement, such as logistics and transportation. It can also be applied for security and surveillance. A good example is the detection and identification of dangerous anomalies, such as weapons in public places. This technology may soon break down boundaries among agencies and departments, as more organizations are forced to adopt it to reduce costs and increase efficiency.
It is still early days before the arrival of this type of technology in the field of law enforcement. The first attempts were met with severe resistance, mostly from privacy advocates and animal rights groups. These groups maintained that facial recognition, while perhaps a useful tool, was being used to unfairly target minorities and women. Despite these protests, digital technology has won over these groups. The technology continues to gain support from many other sections of society, including politicians, the media, and the general public.
Facial recognition has also won several awards and recognition from national agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The FBI is currently using biometric technology to speed up the processing of fingerprints and to find people who may own guns without having to do a traditional background check. In an effort to fight crime, the UK’s National Crime Agency is also using new technologies to identify criminals through their face recognition systems. Even major law enforcement agencies, such as the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms are embracing this new technology. While the goal of facial recognition technology in detecting criminals may seem petty at first, the potential in this technology is vast.
The UK’s government recently announced the creation of a new unit to be headed by a senior official named Mark Hurd. The new Digital Transformation Team, or DTVT, will be charged with “actively advancing” digital technologies for law enforcement use. According to the official, the DTVT is expected to expand the use of biometric technology and other new tools. The goal, according to officials, is to make digital tools more accessible to smaller and medium sized police departments, allowing them to do more digital job work without hiring a new field of tech-savvy agents.
Facial recognition has been around for years, but only now is it gaining momentum as a tool that is being increasingly used in the fight against crime. Some see the creation of a new law enforcement unit as a way to re-position the technology for future use. Others see it as a way for law enforcement to more rapidly and efficiently share criminal information, something that all agree is very important. Regardless of one’s views on the matter, the fact remains that facial recognition technology is here to stay.
Deepak Wadhwani has over 20 years experience in software/wireless technologies. He has worked with Fortune 500 companies including Intuit, ESRI, Qualcomm, Sprint, Verizon, Vodafone, Nortel, Microsoft and Oracle in over 60 countries. Deepak has worked on Internet marketing projects in San Diego, Los Angeles, Orange Country, Denver, Nashville, Kansas City, New York, San Francisco and Huntsville. Deepak has been a founder of technology Startups for one of the first Cityguides, yellow pages online and web based enterprise solutions. He is an internet marketing and technology expert & co-founder for a San Diego Internet marketing company.