Using Collective Intelligence in the fight against crime (I)

Collective Intelligence in general, and crowdsourcing in particular, can be applied to solve problems or challenges in many areas: biology, mathematics, business, etc. The prosecution of crimes is no exception.

There are exceptional and timely situations where the crowd is required to help. That is, for example, the case of the 2011 London riots: the Metropolitan Police of London asked the crowd to try to identify the persons whose criminal acts had been recorded by security cameras (task: analyze content). Also in 2011, the British government proposed a challenge (already finalized) to solve a code. Proposed as a game that lasted a few weeks, it served to recruit specialists from the area to fight against cybercrime (task: solve a code in a playful environment).

Then there are other situations in which we can talk about “projects” or demands for help in the medium/long term. The FBI (again) has a website called “FBI Tips“, in which they asks citizens for any information they believe may be related to terrorist or criminal activities (task: giving information). In Spain, there is for example the application “Alertcops“, an application that allows anyone to report crimes. This is known as a “permanent open call”.

One of this permanente open call initiatives is being carried out nowadarys by Europol.

Europol is the European Union police agency. They help the 28 states that are part of the Union to fight against international crime and terrorism. They face and pursue crimes of drug trafficking, cybercrime, fraud, etc. To combat one of these crimes, child abuse, Europol has launched the “Stop child abuse – Trace an Object” initiative.

What Europolo does through this initiative is to publish objects that appear in fragments of photographs of such crimes: a building, a street, elements of a room such as lamps or tiles, clothes, etc. The task of the crowd is to identify the geographical origin of these objects. If they can provide more information, of any kind, the better. Any information that can be obtained about these elements can be a fundamental clue to solve these crimes.

As in the initiatives of this type, the task does not require previous training and because we are not talking about knowledge of any specific area, anyone can participate (there is a big available crowd).

Do you identify any of these objects?


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