Sharing selected phone and fitness device data to help law enforcement

Umit Karabic, assistant professor of computer and information technology at Purdue Polytechnic Institute, often conducts research inspired by his nearly 10 years of experience working with law enforcement. More recently, it has focused on the data that ordinary citizens willingly choose to provide to law enforcement — specifically, photos, videos, text messages, and other data from cell phones — and how to collect this data in a way that encourages individuals to help law enforcement while preserving Personal privacy and security.

Karabiyik believes that most people would like to help law enforcement solve a crime, but they may be reluctant to share everything on their personal devices.

“We want to help, but we may also have photos or data on our phones that we don’t want to share with others,” Karabic explained. “One solution to this dilemma could be an app that allows us to share only what we choose to share safely and with confidence.”

Krabik’s latest work will target sharing device data when mass incidents occur — when law enforcement requires hundreds of witnesses or victims to provide data related to a specific event, such as a bombing. App-based solutions that allow individuals to consent to and share only certain data from their phone can make it much easier for law enforcement to access the information they need in order to advance an investigation or solve a crime.

Umit Karabic, assistant professor of computer and information technology, works at Purdue Laboratory for Cyber ​​Security and Forensics.  Karabic looks at criminal intelligence and how investigators can use terabytes of evidence from a myriad of devices.  (Purdue University photo/Rebecca McCullough)

Law enforcement appears to agree with Karabic’s approach; Recently received two separate Department of Justice Research Awards totaling more than $875,000 for projects that include developing a new criminal intelligence platform focused on mobile devices and creating a program to leverage data collected by fitness devices and smartwatches to train criminal justice professionals.

prize: Scalable multi-phone target data mining system
Total funding so far: 600,984 dollars
awarded by: National Institute of Justice, Ministry of Justice

This project will develop an existing system, the Targeted Data Extraction System (TDES), which was originally set up to extract case-specific data in a forensically sound manner from the mobile device of willing participants. The new “Forensic Intelligence” platform will leverage TDES with important new capabilities and will use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to make the entire platform more effective and practical for law enforcement use. Ultimately, this project will focus on creating a scalable, multi-faceted data extraction system with forensic intelligence capabilities, called SM-TDES, with the goal of providing forensic intelligence during mass incidents such as the Boston Marathon bombing or the Aurora mass shooting.

“We want to highlight and explore the need to extract data from multiple phones simultaneously after an incident involving multiple people,” Karabic explained. “We will also develop AI-driven analysis capabilities to automatically extract relevant information that will provide viable leads for law enforcement in these mass incident cases.”

Co-researchers include Umit Karabik, Sudhir Agrawal of Florida State University, and Tathagata Mukherjee of the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

prize: The Internet of things
Total funding so far: $297,967
awarded by: Justice Aid Office, Ministry of Justice

This project focuses on inferential value data collected by Internet of Things (IoT) devices – especially wearable fitness devices and smart watches &nmash; and stored in the cloud. In collaboration with the National White Collar Crime Center (NWC3), Karabiyik and a team of Purdue University researchers will create training and technical assistance, including in-person and virtual sessions, to assist criminal justice professionals with legal and technical models, information on fitness equipment and capabilities, and examples of exhibits. Courtroom, databases and online resources.

“This training program that we are developing will support criminal investigators, digital forensic examiners and prosecutors facing IoT evidence,” said Karabic, who serves as the project’s lead investigator.

Co-researchers include Purdue Karabic, Smriti Bhatt, Associate Professor of Cyber ​​Security, and Marcus Rogers, Assistant Dean for Cyber ​​Security Initiatives, as well as Steve DeProtta, Chuck Cohen and Robert Lizenby of the NW3C (National White Collar Crime Center).

Karabiyik’s research interests include digital and cyber forensics, criminal intelligence, and applications of machine learning in cyber forensics and security. In addition to his research and teaching responsibilities, he is associate editor of the Journal of Digital Forensics, Security and Law and a junior editorial board member of the Journal of Surveillance, Security and Safety.

additional information