Military police upgrades open-source intelligence platform for digital investigations

Deal signed with specialist software firm reflects huge growth in digital offences

Credit: Debora Cartagena, USCDCP on Pixnio

The country’s military police service has invested in software to improve its open-source intelligence gathering and boost its investigative ability to deal with an exponential rise in digital crime.

The Force Intelligence and Investigations Unit (FIIU) is part of the Royal Military Police, the Army corps charged with policing serving army personnel. 

The unit, which is responsible for intelligence gathering and investigative work, wishes to improve its ability to gather evidence on digital crimes – which it said are rising rapidly and “show no sign of slowing down”.

Recently published commercial documents reveal that the FIIU has invested in software it hopes will allow it to better gather and open-source intelligence. This relates to the collection and analysis of information that is publicly available online, including both that which can be found via standard search engines on the so-called surface web, as well as material on the deep web – which is as likely thousands of times larger than the surface web and sits beyond the reach of common search tools.

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The unit has signed a one-year contract with specialist tech firm Chorus. The deal is intended to replace an existing internal hardware and software set-up that is “no longer fit for purpose: due to the rapidly evolving nature of digital policing investigations …the service police open-source intelligence capability now requires uplifting”, the contract said.

“This procurement exercise is to uplift and modernise the capabilities of the FIIU into a fully operational capable and credible law enforcement agency,” the document said. “One of the greatest threats for UK policing is the [exponential] rate of increase of digital crime that’s taking place now and shows no sign of slowing down. Market research has identified the Chorus cloud intelligence suite to meet the business requirement of the service police.”

The contract added: “The Chorus platform is a secure private cloud designed specifically for UK law enforcement agencies conducting digital investigations focused on open-source material. Chorus leverages multiple disciplines to locate and interrogate open-source data and information and develop that material into intelligence and evidence. It is now a mainstream open-source software solution for many other Home Office police forces and other law-enforcement agencies.”

Chorus, which is headquartered in Suffolk and also operates an office in the US, hosts its platform “in the UK within… a datacentre [that] is Police Assured Secure Facility- accredited, holds ISO27001 and ISO9001 accreditations, and has layered physical and technical security procedures”, the FIIU said.

The military police’s deal with the company comes into effect on 1 February. The £44,000 value of the engagement covers the cost of a year’s licence for three users of both Chorus’s core Intelligence Suite product – which the firm’s website said provides “software applications for every stage of a digital investigation” – as well as its specialist tool for investigating financial crime by analysing bank statements and other data to detect evidence of money laundering or other wrongdoing.


Sam Trendall

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