Last week, I attended the 2nd Israel Homeland Security (HLS) conference in Tel Aviv. I was in good company. Over 2,000 government ministers, mayors, police chiefs, heads of intelligence organizations and homeland security companies were there as well, representing every corner of the world and every key sector – from cities, seaports and airports to critical infrastructure. I was excited to see and hear about the latest homeland security innovations, including a new way to detect explosives and narcotics using trained mice as sniffers.
While at HLS, I also had an opportunity to sit in on a number of presentations. This year’s HLS educational sessions illuminated shared challenges and best practices, and the growing importance of communication and collaboration, not only at an organizational level but from a global perspective as well.
So what do I mean by “global perspective?”
We live in a complex world, where IP communication networks, and social media applications, like Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, etc., have created a global society without borders, virtually speaking. In this environment would-be terrorists or criminals –(“the bad guys” as I’ll call them) – can easily communicate, coordinate and plot across state lines, countries and even continents. Another growing threat highlighted at HLS is cyber attacks which also can be launched across borders and cause massive disruption and harm.
These cross-border threats point to a need for greater communication and collaboration on a global scale.
These new modes of communications are creating a challenge for intelligence communities – and that is how to transform mass quantities of social media data into intelligence for threat detection and monitoring. The use of encryption, even on readily available applications like BBM and Skype, can make this task even more challenging.
But with the right technology, the challenge can become an opportunity. For example, one solution NICE demonstrated at HLS is the Citer 360 solution which can collect, retain and analyze vast amounts of data from websites, online newspapers, social networks, forums, chat rooms, blogs and virtual databases – and combine those results with other intelligence sources for real-time threat detection.
By feeding this intelligence into a Situation Management solution, you can even take the process one step further, so you’re not just detecting threats, you’re automating your handling of threats too. For example, an alert involving a huge public demonstration might trigger instructions to an operator to dispatch additional police resources, while presenting real-time, location-specific video.
Mr. Shimon Peres, the President of the State of Israel, reiterated the important message of collaboration and the unified goal of fighting terror and crime to secure nations and organizations. This message was well received by the participants as terror and crime are sadly not unique to Israel, but felt by us all.