The AIDA project: Artificial Intelligence at the service of law enforcement

(To Matteo Mauri)

The postulate of the eternal struggle between cops and thieves is also confirmed in its digital transposition. The strategic and technological improvement of one of the two parts follows the improvement of the other, in a potential infinite circle (the reader decides whether it is vicious or virtuous, depending on the starting point of view). The most sophisticated criminal activities are now, and increasingly, carried out through advanced technologies. And state-of-the-art technologies are therefore essential to be able to curb them.

To identify, prevent and combat modern crimes, it is now necessary to implement innovative technologies and methods that cross different types of crimes: cybercrime and terrorism, for example, pose distinct problems to the police. The prevention of a cybercrime certainly rests on the analysis of different sets of input data compared to those used for the fight against terrorism. However, the very analysis of these data can benefit from the application and use of a common denominator: a technological framework equipped with Artificial Intelligence algorithms and Deep Learning (deep learning) applied to Big Data analysis, and tailored to provide law enforcement with additional analytical tools specific to the fight against individual criminal activities.

The project

This is the intuition behind the European research project AIDA (Artificial Intelligence and advanced Data Analytics for Law Enforcement Agencies - Artificial Intelligence and Advanced Data Analysis for Law Enforcement - to develop a descriptive and predictive data analysis platform and a set of satellite tools to prevent, detect, analyze and combat criminal activities of a different matrix.

The project, funded with almost 8 million euros by the European Union within the program Horizon 2020 (grant agreement n ° 883596) officially started in September 2020 and will have a total duration of 24 months.

The resulting integrated framework produced by AIDA will be modular and flexible and will include Data Mining and analysis, specifically designed for law enforcement: automated tools to manage intelligence and investigation workflows; massive acquisition of content, extraction and aggregation of information; knowledge management and optimization through new applications for the processing of Big Data; visual and predictive analysis tools based on Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. The project, although it bases its work on basic research, aims to develop and supply a mature product: the final solution will reach the level of technological preparation cataloged by the EU as level 7 (level reached by prototypes capable of providing a demonstration of the system in the operating environment).

The AIDA system and tools will therefore be made available to law enforcement agencies (involved in various capacities in the project) through a secure environment (sandbox) which aims to increase the level of technological readiness of the solutions, through their prototype application in the environment. operational and through the use and analysis of real data and surveys.

The project has a strong Italian component: led by Engineering Computer Engineering, who is also responsible for the integration of services in the final suite, sees the participation of the Sardinian Pluribus One in the guide of the Work Package dedicated to the generation of Artificial Intelligence systems for the management and acquisition of information and for the analysis of criminal groups (AI-supported actionable intelligence and knowledge generation).

The consortium is also composed of other 19 partners, coming from 11 different countries, including universities, specialized agencies of the European Union, companies and leading actors in the fight against crime and terrorism: Europol, CENTRIC - Center of Excellence in Terrorism, Resilience, Intelligence & Organized Crime Research, Bitdefender, Cybercrime Research Institute, Police Service of Northern Ireland, Guardia Civil, Hellenic Police, Inspectoratul General al Politiei Romane, Dutch National Police, Polícia Judiciária, Estonian Police and Border Guard Board, Information Technologies Institute ( CERTH), Sheffield Hallam University, Vicomtech, Instituto Tecnologico De Informatica, Expert System Iberia, Lingea, Voiceinteraction, University College Dublin, KEMEA.

The survey

In the early stages of its activities, the project proposes an approach oriented to the involvement of society at all levels and aims to put the citizen at the center of research, allowing everyone to participate in an international survey and available in all languages ​​used in the partner countries involved in the project.

Artificial Intelligence is a promising technology but not free from critical issues, especially when it is talked about in the "security" field and when it is adopted by the guardians of public order. For this reason, the need arises to better understand the citizens' point of view on the use of Artificial Intelligence systems by law enforcement agencies: what is acceptable and useful, under what conditions, what are the relative benefits and what could be be the possible challenges, drifts or worries.

The development of the AIDA platform and related tools will in fact be guided by respect for privacy and will take into account the ethical issues raised by the use of Artificial Intelligence and the social impact of the project, for which this survey will provide an important contribution.

The survey is conducted by CENTRIC, a center of excellence in crime research and counter-terrorism, based at the University of Sheffield Hallam (United Kingdom), and is promoted in Italy by Engineering Computer Engineering e Pluribus One.

The link to participate in the survey, which is completely anonymous and can be completed in 6 minutes, is the following:

Useful links:

Official project website:

Survey on the use of artificial intelligence by law enforcement:

To subscribe to the project newsletter: