x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Super snooper's subtle about security

Among the tanks and rockets on display at the International Defence Exhibition (Idex), one product is taking a more subtle approach to maintaining security, using sophisticated snooping technology to track troublemakers on the internet.

Abu Dhabi // Among the tanks and rockets on display at the International Defence Exhibition (Idex), one product is taking a more subtle approach to maintaining security, using sophisticated snooping technology to track troublemakers on the internet.

Software designed by Advanced Integrated Systems (AIS), an Abu Dhabi firm, can go deep into internet data records to hunt down the key patterns that may be a sign of trouble ahead.

Scott Jackson, the vice president of ATS Group, says his software can predict future problems based on an ability to "understand the thoughts, feelings and emotions of people from the Web" and then combine that data with information from sources such as traffic cameras, CCTV and police records.

This is what AIS calls the "analytic core", the software it sells to government clients across the world. "The analytic core gives you the real world picture of what is happening and gives you its analysis," said Rashed Ghobash, the system's project manager at AIS. "This has the ability to take the necessary information, decipher it, decide what's important to provide to the users, and then give what we call the real city view."

The analytic core sifts huge amounts of data from social media websites, phone text messages and other sources, cross-checking it with existing databases, such as criminal and health records, to paint a picture of what the population of a city is thinking and doing.

The only limitations, says Mr Jackson, are local laws. "The level of detail that's available depends on the infrastructure laws of where you are. In the US, for example, you only get traffic counts and aggregate data, [whereas] in some countries individual data is available."

Mr Ghobash used the example of football hooliganism. If someone sends a Facebook or Twitter message telling friends where and when to meet up, the analytic core can not only automatically alert authorities, but decide whether the event is worth police attention.

"The system can filter data - it knows what's right and what's wrong," he said. And the longer it operates and the more data it collects, the smarter it gets. "It learns."

smclain@thenational.ae