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GCN : October 2015
GCN OCTOBER 2015 • GCN.COM 31 Philadelphia’s 311 non-emer- gency system for information and service requests got its start on New Year’s Day 2008. At the time, plans for updates and expansions were scheduled for the next year and a half, but then everything stopped. “It was supposed to take 18 months from start to finish, and it was sup- posed to be completed by spring 2009 and no later than the summer,” Rosetta Carrington Lue, senior adviser and chief customer service officer for the city’s managing director, told GCN. “We would have the centralized operations available, and phase two would be im- plementing more complex technology for better customer support. The third phase was for improvements based on what we were hearing.” By the summer of 2008, however, the country had plunged into a recession, and city budgets were slashed. “We had to put phase two of the project on hold, which was the installation of robust technology,” Lue said. “So the original technology was supposed to be there only about four to six months, [but] six years later, we were still using this technology.” Six years is a long time for technol- ogy, and social media exploded while Philadelphia’s 311 system was on hold. The system’s technology grew outdated and the office became understaffed, but in 2014 Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter got some funding and chose Philly311 as one of eight technol- ogy projects to move forward. Lue and her staff wanted to go beyond making simple upgrades. They wanted to change how residents made requests to the city and give them the ability to track those requests and give feedback on how the city responded. INNOVATION THAT WAS WORTH THE WAIT A funding crunch put plans for Philadelphia’s 311 non-emergency system on hold for years, but the payoff was better technology and new levels of citizen service More recently, advances in imaging forensics have prompted development of tools that can perform more complex matches and help law enforcement agents pursue victim-centric strate- gies. That includes tools from Griffeye, formerly NetClean. The firm said in April that its Analyze Digital Investigator would incorpo- rate Analyze Relations, a feature that will “actively help to connect the dots between images and assist in building visual maps that abstract intelligence from visual big data.” The software identifies relationships within images by comparing multiple types of data and metadata, includ- ing what kind of camera was used to take the photos, attributes within the images, and where and when the im- age was taken. More than 2,500 law enforcement agencies in 30 countries use the Analyze platform, the company said. Recently, Project Vic began explor- ing more complex facial recognition techniques, particularly for images that don’t show a conventional snapshot view of the subject. “Doing facial recognition from im- ages that are all in conformity is easy because you can count the different points on the face and actually match them,” Brown said. “What we’re look- ing at is more complex facial recogni- tion, where you get a three-quarter or tilted view of the child or suspect.” Project Vic is also evaluating technol- ogy Microsoft is working on that can gauge a person’s age. “It would be use- ful if an investigator can say, ‘Show me all females who are 18 or younger or show me any six-year-old,’” Brown said. Another tool, dubbed F1 Video, would help investigators identify im- ages hidden or obscured in often hard- to-reach video formats. The technology creates a hash of offending video clips that might be a short burst of a child pornographic video appearing several minutes into another piece of video or movie. F1, donated to ICMEC by Friend Media Technology Systems, allows investigators to crop the abusive mate- rial and put it into the cloud, where it can be matched against other video categories. Collaborators say Project Vic’s mis- sion is to create an ecosystem of data- sharing partners to protect victims and find perpetrators of child exploitation. Project Vic seems to be meeting both goals. By the end of 2014, partner orga- nizations identified and rescued more than 1,030 child victims. And within a three-year span, the project helped increase criminal arrests by 67 percent and convictions by 55 percent. Cole looks at the success in this way: “When we in law enforcement child exploitation cases focus on offenders, we will miss victims. But if we focus on finding victims, we will not miss the offenders.” — Paul McCloskey 1015gcn_020-038.indd 31 10/5/15 12:46 PM
January and February 2016