Recap Fourth AviaTor Peer-to-Peer

Twice a year, all affiliated Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) using AviaTor come together for the peer-to-peer learning event. The primary objective of these gatherings is to facilitate mutual learning among LEAs from various countries. Participants share insights, ideas, and experiences related to Aviator’s usage, offering invaluable feedback to the development team. On September 27th, 2023, we hosted 28 attendees in Amsterdam for the fourth edition of this event.

The AviaTor tool was created to help LEA process industry reports about online child sexual exploitation more efficiently. The AviaTor project is not just the tool, it is also the community around it. AviaTor was created by the cooperation, knowledge and experience sharing of LEAs, developers, legal experts and policymakers. The AviaTor peer-to-peer learning event serves as the driving platform for consolidating knowledge and best practices.

A brief overview of what was discussed:

Opening speech and welcoming

Nurbegim Azatulloeva, Project Associate at INHOPE expressed a warm welcome to all attendees, providing an overview of the event's purpose and the forthcoming topics to be presented. Additionally, participants introduced themselves to each other.

AviaTor updates & Q&A

Klaas Holthuis, developer at ZiuZ Forensic Investigation provided the group with an overview of the work done and updates in release 12 and 13 of AviaTor. Klaas requested feedback from the LEA-users of AviaTor. Receiving regular and detailed feedback from users is vital for the development team as they have no access to any of the locally deployed AviaTor installations.

The upcoming changes in reporting

During the session on upcoming changes in reporting, Danny van Althuis, head of Team AP Twins at Europol provided insights into the Analysis Project (AP) Twins. He elaborated on the purpose, team composition, and operational processes of AP Twins, shedding light on Europol's evolving role in supporting Member States in the future. Analysis Project Twins is dedicated to preventing and combatting various forms of criminal activities associated with the sexual exploitation and abuse of children. This includes addressing issues like the creation and dissemination of child abuse material across diverse online platforms, as well as other online criminal behaviours involving children, such as grooming, self-generated indecent material, sexual extortion, and remote live child abuse.

Report standardisation and report errors

Yves Goethals, judicial commissioner of the Belgian Federal Police led an interactive discussion where all participants interacted and shared knowledge and experiences on report standardisation and report errors. This discussion provided valuable insights into the challenges and opportunities associated with report standardisation and the need for effective communication between law enforcement agencies and ESPs to optimise report quality and utility.

Some of the key takeaways and highlights from this session:

  • Reports uploaded from various Electronic Service Providers (ESPs) often contain non-standardised data. Despite the inclusion of standardised report formats for ESPs in the EU draft CSAM legislation, achieving consistent data remains a challenge.
  • Standardisation is essential to expedite the processing of reports in a timely and efficient manner.
  • Standardisation proves particularly valuable in situations involving territorial structures, where national teams must address multiple cybercrime areas, not solely CSAM. It streamlines processes and ensures consistency in handling diverse cases.
  • To enhance the utility of reports, it is vital to communicate to ESPs the specific information required and the purpose behind it.
  • Improved understanding by ESPs of law enforcement needs can lead to more effective collaboration and information exchange.
  • Gathering information about the victim is crucial as well. Law enforcement relies on this data to locate and interview victims which emphasises the importance of victim-related information in the reporting process.

Past and future of OSINT in AviaTor

During the session led by Annemarie Brockmöller, LEA consultant at Web-IQ, the focus was on Open-Source Intelligence (OSINT), its current utilisation, and its future integration into the AviaTor tool. The presentation highlighted the advantages of targeted online research for investigators in their efforts to uncover suspects and identify victims.

Key points from the session included:

  • There is value in targeted online research as a tool for investigators to not only detect suspects but also to identify potential victims, enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of law enforcement operations.
  • The discussion delved into the potential benefits of incorporating automated OSINT capabilities within AviaTor, which could streamline the process of gathering critical intelligence.
  • The presentation also touched upon Web-IQ's future plans to expand OSINT development for AviaTor users as part of their sustainability plan. OSINT will become an add-on functionality that investigators can choose to utilise per report.

How to recognise hacked accounts

Yves Goethals, judicial commissioner for the Belgian Federal Police led an interactive discussion centred on the recognition of hacked accounts. During this session, law enforcement agencies (LEAs) were invited to provide brief presentations of their real-life cases involving hacked accounts and the strategies employed to resolve them. The discussion proved to be productive, as participants actively participated and shared their valuable insights and experiences in addressing cybercrime-related issues.

The legality of using OSINT by LEAs

Ruben Roex and Jolien Clemens, attorneys from TIMELEX provided the group with insights into Open-Source Intelligence (OSINT), its various types, and the current legal framework surrounding its use. This session offered insights into the complex legal landscape surrounding the utilisation of OSINT by law enforcement agencies, emphasising the importance of balancing investigative needs with the protection of fundamental rights.

Here are some of the key takeaways and highlights from this informative session:

  • The discussion emphasised proportionality of the use of OSINT tools can potentially infringe upon fundamental rights, such as the right to privacy and the protection of personal data. These intrusions can range from high interference involving systematic searches and data storage to low interference involving manual searches in targeted investigations.
  • Legal justifications for privacy interference through OSINT tools were outlined, particularly in cases where national security, public safety, and crime prevention are at stake.
  • The processing of personal data by LEAs is subject to national legislation, with varying positions across Member States regarding the legality of OSINT. However, there are general rules governing OSINT usage, including post-hoc assessments of data reliability and accuracy, as well as evaluations of data protection impacts.
  • High-risk AI systems are subject to strict regulation, including requirements such as risk management systems, quality criteria for databases, technical documentation, automated event logging, transparency, clear operational instructions, human oversight, and cybersecurity measures.

In conclusion, the AviaTor Peer-to-Peer Learning event held in Amsterdam served as a vital platform for relevant stakeholders to come together and advance collaborative efforts. The event highlighted the latest enhancements in the AviaTor tool, report standardisation procedures, strategies for recognising hacked accounts, and the legal complexities surrounding the use of OSINT.

These discussions emphasised the ongoing commitment to improving the fight against online child exploitation through innovation and cooperation while upholding legal frameworks and safeguarding fundamental rights. Moving forward, the AviaTor community remains dedicated to excellence, innovation, and the continued pursuit of a secure online environment for all. Keep in the loop with our newsletter and receive all project updates.

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Recap Fourth AviaTor Peer-to-Peer
25.10.2023 Article by INHOPE

Exchange is the place where ideas meet, fuse, and emerge transforming it into impact.