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Conclusion of Digital Policing Conference

Conclusion of Digital Policing Conference

Conference Conclusion


The conference was held virtually, from the 4th to the 5th of November in the evening, UAE timing, through Zoom platform. The Director of the Division for Multilateral Diplomacy at the United Nations Institute for Training and Research, Mr. Rabih El-Haddad introduced the Digital Policing Conference, which was arranged in partnership with Manchester Innovation and Technology Academy (MANIATECH) – Dubai Branch, and also welcomed all conference speakers, panel members, and attendees to the conference. Immediately afterwards Dr. Wissam Steitie, the managing director of Maniatech Academy, started the conference by delivering the opening speech, in which he also welcomed the speakers and representatives of the conference, as well as representing the main agenda”.

Dr. Steitie highlighted the importance of this conference, tackling the increasingly alarming level of cybercrime, and therefore, understanding the challenges of the latest technological innovations, the concept of the digital policing and how police force can use this digital technology to overcome these challenges. He quoted some of the factual data of cybercrime incidents, stating that “In 2020, millions of emails got hacked. During the months of April and September, the city of London launched a report in which they stressed the 13,330 victims who were victims of cybercrime incidents. A police operation was conducted by some states like France and the Netherlands, in which many drug dealers were arrested. As cybercrime is increasingly growing, it demands an innovation in the digital policing and accelerate technology usage to counter all these cybercrime issues.

The speaker introducing the main keynote was His Excellency Dr. Muhammad Hamad Al-Kuwaiti, Head of Cyber security for the UAE Government and an Executive Adviser at the Supreme Council for National Security. In addition, many other experts in the field of cyber security took part in the event, namely: Mr. Ray Romano, Diplomatic Security Service Deputy Assistant Director at the Cyber Threat, and Investigations department within the Bureau of Diplomatic Security in the US; Ms. Bonnie Butlin, Fellow of (ISC)2 Award Winner 2020, and Executive Director, Security Partners' Forum (Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Security Partners’ Forum (SPF) and known as “Canada’s First Lady of Security” around the world.); Mr. Patrick Ghion, Member of The Board Of Advisors at Trust Valley Head of the Forensic Section of Geneva State Criminal Police; Ms. Anita Hazenberg, Director Innovation Directorate at INTERPOL (IGCI - Singapore); Colonel Ángel Gómez de Ágreda, Head of Geopolitical Analysis Department in the Spanish Ministry of Interior, ; Prof. Mohammed Hammoudeh, Professor in Future Networks and Security, Manchester Metropolitan University; Prof. Rami Qahwaji, Professor of Visual Computing, University of Bradford – UK; Prof. Gary T. Marx, Professor Emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); Prof. Michael McGuire Senior Lecturer in criminology (University of Surrey); Mr. J.J. Gee, Director of Investigations within the Nagra Anti-Piracy group, a world leader in digital security and a provider of end-to-end convergent media solutions to the digital entertainment industry; Mr. Julien Chesaux, Cyber Security Senior Consultant at Kuldeski Security; Mr. Shaun Riordan, who moderated a number of panels within the conference, is the Director of the Chair for Diplomacy and Cyberspace of the European Institute for European Studies, as well as author of several books related to Cyber Diplomacy.

Dr. Muhammad Hamad Al-Kuwaiti presented the main objectives of the event regarding the latest technological advances and building of smart cities. The role of social media and the young generation in this topic was also discussed, and how bloggers and youtubers, nowadays, can spread the message about these technological advances and the privacy laws protecting the people from cybercrimes regardless of their geopolitical location. The impact of COVID-19 on the increase of cybercrimes was also highlighted, and recommendations to face these events were also raised. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, hackers attacked every 30 seconds and hospitals were attacked through ransomware. The e-participation of the public and law enforcement agencies, advanced technology and connectivity through the digital devices could make more smart cities which can ultimately reduce the cybercrime rate. Crimes like credit card theft, fraud, hacking, bullying through chats, impersonation, defamation and blackmailing enormously affected the victims’ personal and social life. Dr. Al-Kuwaiti recommended the coordination of all the media, as well as partnership among all entities in the application of AI to counter the cybercrime incidents. Furthermore, during the Q&A section, he talked about bilateral and trilateral collaboration between different states that could reduce the security risks. Raising awareness among stakeholders in civil society with regards to the legislation and policies in cybercrime issues are the most pressing issues to tackle.
In the following session, Mr. Ray Romano emphasized the importance on technology use and how to utilize the technology to monitor cybercrime issues. His department, Directorate of Cyber and Technology Security, is a center of excellence that brings together Cyber Security- technology security and expertise to solve the emerging problems. They have identified thefts and wire fraud cases and controlled human trafficking by supporting U.S Federal Law enforcement organizations.
Subsequently, Ms. Bonnie Butlin addressed some of the challenges for cyber security which emerged during the pandemic of 2020. Due to that, universal cooperation on policing the cyber security has been increased because of the pandemic has rapidly grown.

Mr. Shaun Riordan moderated the session between Ms. Anita Hazenberg, Director of the Innovation Directorate from the INTERPOL and Mr. Patrick Ghion from Geneva Police. The main focus of the dialogue was that the policing models need to be shifted, as medical data of COVID mass testing is being attacked more than before the pandemic. Therefore, digital policing pandemic management needs to be more advanced. Ms. Anita Hazenbaeg talked about how to initiate the culture of accepting an innovation in digital policing. In which regard the support from the political leaders is crucial. In fact, her department has organized virtual conferences on training the future police generation which will be well-equipped on technology use. She also emphasized the importance of training leaders to make them understand the importance of technology and its uses to counter cybercrime effectively. Furthermore, she also touched upon the role of prosecution in cybercrime cases. Mr. Patrick Ghion member of the Board of Advisors at Trust Valley in Switzerland, explained the use of digital technology by the police department of Geneva, in Switzerland, and how they are trained to use digital devices for investigations. In all the crimes, the mobile phone is the basic device involved. Technology has become since the invention of mobile phone, so investigator in Geneva, can immediately go to the lab and do the investigation on the mobile phone which was found most crime scenes. By the end of the first day conference, Mr. Patrick addressed the handling of cybercrime issues at the international level. He was hopeful that a strategy could be developed within the international law standards, and to liaise with the INTERPOL to become more technologically advanced.

On the second day, Ms. Silvia Vacchi, on behalf of UNITAR, started the conference. The agenda of the second-day discussion was on enabling ethical representative, responsible, and accountable digital police services. Due to the technology evolvement, there is a big amount of data available for the police forces, so there must be some ethical concerns arise while using them. The first speaker of the panel was Colonel Ángel Gómez. He talked about how our current world has developed differently, especially after the COVID-19 outbreak, by introducing the utilization of digital devices in all sectors. As of today, we understand the world and the events happening around the globe through the information we get from digital devices, provided by artificial intelligence agencies. We should focus on creating an orderly world. Therefore, the most important element in the ethical utilization of the data collected through AI and digital policing is trust. There should be some laws regarding the ethical use of the information gathered, and agencies such as Hard AI, Soft AI, laws are working on securing the privacy of the people. Mr. Gómez de Ágreda highlighted the importance of developing a mechanism in which laws are clearly defined, human control ensured, trust-building measured, and a code of conduct to conduct investigations, as well as expert committee must be formed to ensure that all these steps are being followed.

The topic in the second session of the conference was Policing and Justice for Digital Age and Digital Citizenship. Ms. Silvia Vacchi, from UNITAR, introduced this session in which she talked about the increased collective Cyber Security due to information shared among artificial agencies. Nowadays, digital policing on Cyber Security is one of the main pillars which have secured human society, Cyber Security being one of the most critical issues. Digital policing is being done to ensure the computer systems will work hand-on-hand on any cyber case, and to effectively use all information collected or predicted by AI. However, there are still some ethical and legal issues in this field that need the expertise and the government’s attention. To ensure that digital policing is conducted ethically, data governance, digital justice, the role of AI and privacy enhancing technology are of utmost importance.

Prof. Muhammad Hammoudeh and Prof. Rami discussed this topic in the panel moderated by Mr. Shaun Riordan Firstly, Prof. Hammoudeh talked about the legislation regulating cybercrime issues and Cyber Security, and the lack of providing effective security to the victims. Secondly, he said that different systems are used by the artificial intelligence agencies to gather important information, but still this data is unable to provide satisfactory answers to the legal requirements. Then, a large part of the discussion was based on the role of AI in the process of digital investigation and Cyber Security. He said that some of us think that the data collected by AI is not valid, but it depicts the “real-world” data we feed the machine to analysis. AI cannot modify the real data based on someone’s interests. This was followed by a discussion on the role of social media in promoting the control of digital crimes, for which he stressed the necessity of developing a jurisdictional framework or digital policing. He raised concerns on the pace of legislation on this matter which was far behind the pace of digital crimes. For instance, he quoted an example from a recent survey, which stated that prosecution for digital crimes in the United States represented only a 0.6 %, whereas prosecution for physical violent crimes was up to 46%. Therefore, governments and political institutions need to draw more attention on this matter, and to speed up the regulation on the issues regarding cybercrime.

Dr. Rami belongs to the AI field, and he discussed the safety of the data collected by the AIs and large part of his talk was on answering the questions based on the biases of the data collected by AI. He talked about the importance of the work done by AI, but at the same time, he was of the view that the algorithms made by AI should not be the final deciding elements. As society evolves, we make sure we evolve with it therefore it is vital to ensure the increase of digital policing and alongside with it, its regulation to insure the right use of it . In order to answer the question, Professor Qahwaji uses the term “digital citizens”, who now require more digital technology to protect their lives. We all have and carry smart digital devices all the time which can even count the steps we walk, our blood pressure, etc. at any time, so humans’ actions have become increasingly digital Governments and other stakeholders need to bring progress among these digital citizens by using this new digital technology. He stressed that now, authorities have to look if the justice system is following this technological pace or not because connecting things to the internet has increased the security risks.

The second discussion of the day was on the direction that technology has taken in recent times, and how it should be used for digital policing in a more purposeful way. Prof. Michael McGuire and Prof.Gary T. Max discussed their personal view on the constant state of struggling and moving which humans find themselves in nowadays, with the many additional challenges that technology has brought about. For a more thriving use of technology, there is always a need for dialogue to prevent the cultural and other differences in this regard. People themselves need to be more aware of the positive use of technology.
In the last panel discussion, Mr. Julien and Mr. J.J. Gee presented a showcase about best and worst practices in digital intelligence and investigation. People, especially the younger generations, are more technologically aware than ever which means they will be better at handling cybercrimes in the future. Mr. Gee talked about the efficient use of technology in preventing cybercrimes and increasing Cyber Security, as well as the way in which criminal analysis works and the results which derive from it to resolve cybercrime issues. As an example, approximately a hundred COVID-19 related scam websites were published by a security vendor through this criminal analysis. He concluded the discussion by providing some useful insights to handle cybercrimes which involved awareness campaigns, as well as providing accurate ”blacklists” to government agencies.

The virtual conference, which lasted a total of two days, presented useful discussions on its main themes which included the latest challenges faced in the area of Cyber Security, AI, police, and use of technological tools. The event also discussed the use of technology to address the challenges and enabling ethical responsive, and responsible digital police services. The informative addresses and dialogues of the speakers enabled the audience to be well aware of the modern issues. The discussion was well received by the audience, which included various actors among which representatives from police sectors and government security agencies of the United States, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom, France, Finland, Switzerland, and many researchers, and students from other countries.

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