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FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

1. About INDECT

Q1.1: What is INDECT?
Q1.2: What is the aim of this project?
Q1.3: What behaviour is an “abnormal” behaviour?
Q1.4: Where (in which programme) was the INDECT Project proposal submitted?
Q1.5: Is it possible that you could spend money on developing a INDECT component that can be then cancelled due to the Ethics Board's disapproval?


2. Ethical Issues

Q2.1: Does INDECT address ethical issues?
Q2.2: Are there any rules related to ethical issues?
Q2.3: What is the role of the Ethics Board?
Q2.4: How does the Ethics Board reach decisions on what research to proceed with?
Q2.5: Who are the members of the Project INDECT Ethics Board, and who selected them?
Q2.6: Is the data collection required for INDECT? Is that in violation of the privacy clauses contained within the European Convention on Human Rights?
Q2.7: You cannot protect privacy if you have access to the data. What does privacy mean to you?
Q2.8: Does INDECT perform any kind of censoring the Internet in order to fight child pornography?



3. INDECT Application

Q3.1: How would you detect someone misusing access to INDECT prototypes?
Q3.2: Is it planned to get this observation-tool for general or will it only be used in special cases, for example to avoid terrorism or child abuse?
Q3.3: Would it be possible for private businesses to make website activity or CCTV feeds available to INDECT?
Q3.4: Would you support private companies watermarking, or otherwise flagging, content to ease monitoring its reuse on the Internet?
Q3.5: Are there any non-public databases from police and security services that would be added to INDECT to complement more public information?
Q3.6: Would you expect implementation of INDECT to improve collection of evidence leading to prosecutions?
Q3.7: Would data normally requiring a warrant or court order be held in INDECT?
Q3.8: Would actively seeking to keep browsing habits private, using tools such as The Onion Router (TOR) developed by the US Navy, be reason to flag someone for further investigation?

 

Q1.1: What is INDECT?

A: The INDECT project (Intelligent information system supporting observation, searching and detection for security of citizens in urban environment) is a research project, allowing involved European scientists to develop new, advanced and innovative algorithms and methods aiming at detecting and counteracting threats and criminal activities, affecting citizens’ safety. The Project proposal was submitted by the international, pan-European consortium, led by the AGH University of Science and Technology (Krakow, Poland), under the supervision of Professor Andrzej Dziech, the INDECT Project Coordinator. The consortium consists currently of well-known universities, companies and 2 end-users (Police Service of Northern Ireland and Polish General Headquarters of Police).

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Q1.2: What is the aim of this project?

A: The aim of INDECT is to develop solutions to and tools for automatic threat detection through e.g. processing of CCTV camera data streams, standardization of video sequence quality for user applications, threat detection in computer networks as well as data and privacy protection. New techniques for intelligent analysis of data will allow recognizing such situations, and giving alert before it is too late. The objective is also to recognize events that could lead to terrorist attacks (e.g. left luggage at an airport, automatic recognition of dangerous tools).

The primary objective is to develop advanced and innovative algorithms for human decision support in combating criminal activities, such as human trafficking, child pornography, detection of dangerous situations (e.g. robberies) and the use of dangerous objects (e.g. knives or guns) in public spaces. Efficient tools for dealing with such situations are crucial to ensuring the safety of citizens.

The INDECT project adopts a new approach based on threat monitoring (also known as “black/dark screen monitoring”). In contrast to the traditional approach, it focuses on potentially threatening situations, and gives the operator access to the video only when his attention is actually needed.

A significant part of the project is dedicated to the development of tools and methods for data and privacy protection. The processed information is protected before its transmission or storage to prevent any attempts at unauthorized access. Dedicated tools are being developed to protect citizens’ privacy in areas covered by visual monitoring systems.

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Q1.3: What behaviour is an “abnormal” behaviour?

A: As regards the definition of “abnormal behaviour”, the term is not introduced by the INDECT Project, and it was formulated in the FP7 Work Programme. This term can be understood differently depending on a context. In our case we clearly understand abnormal behaviour as the one related to a threat or “criminal behaviour”, and especially as behaviour related to serious criminal activities (e.g.: robberies, distribution of child pornography, etc.).

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Q1.4: Where the INDECT Project proposal was submitted? In which programme the project proposal was submitted?

A: Security of citizens is one of the most important priorities of EU. This fact has been emphasized in the Fourth European Security Research Conference in Stockholm, 29th-30th September, 2009. For EU FP7 Research Programme in 2007 has been created call Security. The Project INDECT, as many others proposals, was submitted for the call Security, in particular for the theme “Security of Citizens in Urban Environment” (FP7-SEC-2007-1). Following a call for proposals the project INDECT submitted to the Commission was evaluated by independent EU experts with respect to its scientific merit, end-user requirements, etc. The Ethics Review panel also made a check of the ethical issues raised by the project. The all steps of the evaluation procedure including expert opinions, hearing procedure, negotiation process have been passed successfully. Then the project was selected for financial support.

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Q1.5: Is it possible that you could spend money on developing a INDECT component that can be then cancelled due to the Ethics Board's disapproval?

A: One of the main criteria for accepting financial support from EC for research done within INDECT and similar projects are prospects for practical implementation of research outcomes. It considers technical feasibility, conformance to ethical regulatory requirements.
The major advantage of the Ethics Board is that it is capable of affecting the work at any point of the development. It can improve the project in progress as well as in the planning stage. Acordingly, the money is not 'wasted' but can be spent effectively instead.

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Q2.1: Does INDECT address ethical issues?

A: The INDECT project addresses a number of ethical issues because of its nature, where sensitive information, if implemented in police work, can be processed in many different ways, from security video feeds to intelligent multimedia content analysis in information storage and processing. We have already presented general assumptions about ethics related issues in our original project work plan. In this document we provide additional information to addresses the issues identified by our reviewers. Ethical issues are addressed taking into account, inter alia, the following issues:

  • only adults are involved in INDECT tests after they give informed consent,

  • the project provides tools for privacy and data protection,

  • project is a subject to ethical audits done by the Ethics Board and by external bodies and experts.

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Q2.2: Are there any rules related to ethical issues?

A: Yes. Ethical Issues Manager, supported by the Ethics Board take care for the rules related to ethical issues addressed by INDECT.

The Ethical Issues Manager ensures strict fulfillment of the ethical rules set to deal with privacy, data protection, prevent dual use and guarantee informed consent of persons involved in the project tests. He is responsible for managing and monitoring ethical aspects through the duration of the project, including the promotion of gender equality in the project. Another task is overseeing science and society issues, related to the research activities conducted within the project.

The Ethics Board was designated in order to supervise the ethical aspects of the activities carried out by the different Work Packages, it analyses the research work and proposes solutions to the Project Board to cope with all the ethical issues faced by the project. The Ethics Board ensures strict fulfilment of the ethical rules set to deal with privacy, data protection, prevent dual use and guarantee informed consent of persons involved in the project tests. Ethics Board is responsible for managing and monitoring ethical aspects through the duration of the project, including the promotion of gender equality in the project. Another task is overseeing science and society issues, related to the research activities conducted within the project.

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Q2.3: What is the role of the Ethics Board?

A: The Ethics Board was established that reports to the Project Board and informs the Commission of ethical issues annually. This Board supports the project consortium in examining the societal, political and legal aspects of potential applications, especially dual use applications, defines and approves the future exploitation plans of the project results, and controls dissemination and communication strategy of research results to a wider audience. Any trial system could be implemented only in case when it would be fully validated.

The responsibilities of the Ethics Board include:

  • Tracing the current legal acts being published during the project realization,

  • Tailoring the solutions being developed to the new legal acts,

  • Establishing the ethical control procedures, which must be followed before performing tests with human subjects,

  • Consulting the developed solutions with the national entities responsible for ethical issues, especially in area of both people and Internet monitoring,

  • Organization (a few times per year) of meetings devoted to all questions related to ethical issues with participation of competent entities dealing with this problem, and permanent monitoring of proposed solutions in the INDECT project with regard to the ethical issues.

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Q2.4: How does the Ethics Board reach decisions on what research to proceed with?

A: Ethics Board analyses and proposes solutions to cope with all the ethical issues faced by the project. Problems and relevant solutions are discussed during Ethics Board meetings, via e-mails, teleconferences based on exchange of opinions with researchers from different Work Packages.

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Q2.5: Who are the members of the Project INDECT ethics board, and who selected them?

The list of the members with is available at the project web-site: http://www.indect-project.eu/ethics-board-members.

The Board includes:

  • Human rights lawyer
  • Professor of ethics,
  • Doctor of philosophy,
  • Two police officers,
  • Representative of multimedia industry,
  • Professor performing research in the domain of security related technologies.

Ethics Board members were appointed from INDECT partnership and from outside of the project. Activities and decisions performed by Ethics Board members require specific expertise and experience in the field of Security and Ethical Issues. Ethics Board cooperates with Inspector General of Personal Data Protection and NGO focused on human rights protection. Their suggestions and comments are considered by Ethics Board members.

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Q2.6: Is the data collection required for INDECT not in violation of the privacy clauses contained within the European Convention on Human Rights?

A: Ethics Board supervises the work In the Project to be conformant to the following regulations:

European Convention on Human Rights

  • Article 2 – right to life

  • Article 3 – right to freedom from torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment

  • Article 5 – right to liberty and security

  • Article 6 – right to a fair trial

  • Article 8 – right to respect for home, private and family life and correspondence

  • Article 9 – freedom of thought conscience and religion

  • Article 10 –freedom of expression

  • Article 11 – freedom of assembly and association

European Union Charter of Fundamental Freedoms:

  • Article 8

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child:

  • Article 3 – the best interests of child

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Q2.7: You cannot protect privacy if you have access to the data. What does privacy mean to you?

A: First of all, there can be no doubt that surveillance systems have become overwhelming these days. Therefore, the need of security of the operational data from the systems is a vital issue. Presently, such a system is typically managed by operators with full access to the data and no additional mechanisms protecting the data. Owing to that fact, there is an obvious risk of any kind of abuse, not to mention leaking the material to the Internet. There are dozens of web sites with such materials - crimes, accidents, even death cases recorded by CCTV cameras. A simple ten-minute research on the Internet can certainly prove this point.

However, with INDECT solutions, the analysis of data is performed automatically and the access to the sensitive content is strictly registered (the date, time and the person who accessed), furthermore, even if there was a leakage, due to the watermarking techniques, it can be easily determined who is responsible for the abuse or negligence.

Even though the detection and evaluation processes are done automatically, the final decision is always made by a human. This, then, requires the identity of the detected person to be automatically concealed (e.g. foto blurring). This can be done using watermarking techniques as well (see Deliverable D1.2)

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Q2.8: Does the project perform any kind of censoring the Internet in order to fight child pornography?

A: INDECT has been never about censoring or even blacklisting the Internet.

First of all, censoring the Internet requires accessing various ISP infrastructure devices, which is completely out of the scope of the project. Furthermore, none of the researchers (obviously Internet users as well) would be interested in producing any kind of “China Firewall” in EU.

As for the INDECT crawlers and search engines, please refer to the (public) INDECT Deliverable D5.1 (“Preliminary report on police and prosecutor repositories and access procedures”), Especially the two sections: Section 4 (“Internet Crawling”) and Section 5 (“Local Data Repositories”). Moreover, a co-operation with dyzurnet.pl (INHOPE partner) is about to be built up.

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Q3.1: How would you detect someone misusing access to INDECT data?

A: One of the INDECT Project objectives is to develop a new type of search engine combining direct search of images and video based on watermarked contents, and the storage of metadata in the form of digital watermarks. New methods and algorithms for designed search engine, will save precious time for the police officers, to detect the targets (e.g. serious criminals, hackers). Watermarking of contents will increase data protection and privacy in the Internet. Special cryptographic methods will keep all the sensitive data protected against unauthorized access.

Please note that INDECT is a research project, not an implementation project. The outcome of the project will be demonstration prototypes/test-beds, rather that production phase products. Consequently issues related to daily use of INDECT systems are far out of scope of the project framework, possibly to be included in its follow-ups, aimed at exploitation of INDECT results.

Finally, the INDECT systems will not collect directly any classified data. Nevertheless, protection will be ensured for all the possessed data in case of some of them to get classified in a future, after the results of data processing.

Moreover, even if we assume that some INDECT solutions will be implemented and use in 'real world', we should remember that INDECT prototypes are designed to trace their users' behaviour. Therefore any access to sensitive content will be monitored and logged, allowing authorised entities to control who have access to data and reduce the risk of leakage or abuse.

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Q3.2: Is it planned to get this observation-tool for general or will it only be used in special cases, for example to avoid terrorism or child abuse?

A: The INDECT Project is exceptionally oriented to avoid terrorism and serious criminal actions, also in Internet (e.g. child pornography) to increase security of citizens! We will also produce the tools for protection of personal data (using watermarking technology). It was never planned to get observation tools for general purposes..

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Q3.3: Would it be possible for private businesses to make website activity or CCTV feeds available to INDECT?

A: It is possible for private businesses; however, on voluntary, rather than not obligatory basis. The exception is a situation when local, legal regulations impose private business (e.g. telecom operator) to disclose some data. It should be noted that data disclosure has to be limited by human rights, and voluntary acts have to be guaranteed on informed consent forms signed by persons whose data is being disclosed.

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Q3.4: Would you support private companies watermarking, or otherwise flagging, content to ease monitoring its reuse on the Internet?

A: The main end-user of INDECT solutions are police forces. Consequently, there is no direct way of private, dual-use of digital watermarking solutions. Nevertheless, this is technologically possible, and if ever happens – only outside the INDECT Project framework.

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Q3.5: Which non-public databases from police and security services would be added to INDECT to complement more public information?

A: The research activities in INDECT will be based only on public information or on non-public virtual or training data.

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Q3.6: Would you expect implementation of INDECT to improve collection of evidence leading to prosecutions?

A: The main target of INDECT solutions is crime prevention instead of crime prosecution. However, in case of situation where crime already happened, the project will develop necessary tools which will help Police Services to detect terrorism, serious crime and offenders quickly and efficiently. Current, manual methods will be replaced by innovative, semi-automatic technologies – still being in line with all national and EU legal regulations. In addition, the high security for information flow needed by police and prosecutor offices will be offered. This objective will be reached by designing and prototyping the method of software assistance support for secure searching of required persons and documents, including any security activities of police and prosecutors.

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Q3.7: Would data normally requiring a warrant or court order be held in INDECT? Would such be usable in a prosecution without an equivalent legal process to deem such evidence admissible?

A: INDECT does not hold and does not intend to hold such data. INDECT is a research project elaborating tools for data processing and analysis. For research purposes a fictional data is sufficient.

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Q3.8: Would actively seeking to keep browsing habits private, using tools such as The Onion Router (TOR) developed by the US Navy, be reason to flag someone for further investigation?

A: Handling of collected personal data while protecting privacy and confidentiality is of major importance for the project; a specific task monitors on this aspect throughout the project. Actively seeking to keep browsing habits private per se, cannot be reason to flag someone for further investigation. Anyway, profiling suspected figureheads, even with anonymous identities, protected by using special software (like TOR), is expected. It should be mentioned here that one of the INDECT Project objectives is to develop a set of techniques supporting analysis of of the acquired information, and detection of serious criminal activities and threats (child abuse, child pornography).

It should be stressed that INDECT is a research project. Its objective is NOT global monitoring or invigilation as suggested or interpreted by some media or ‘Internet activists’. Most of partners come from academic domain. Their objective is to make innovation and progress in such research areas as digital watermarking, artificial intelligence, image recognition and signal processing.

Police partners define and assess the usability of tools and algorithms developed by researchers for fighting crime and terrorism threats.

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