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UK launches suspicious material monitor with astonishing rate of accuracy.

FCRO Subsection: 
World Money Laundering Report

The British government has announced the introduction of software to "detect terrorist content" on "any online platform." According to a statement issued yesterday "Tests have shown this new tool can automatically detect 94% of Da'esh propaganda with 99.995% accuracy. " That's amazing - and one has to ask how such figures can be quantified and proved. But there is good news: while large platforms have developed their own tech, smaller companies will be able to use that developed by the British government and ASI Data Science.


This is what the statement said "Smaller platforms, however, are increasingly targeted by Da'esh and its supporters and they often do not have the same level of resources to develop technology. The model, which has been trained using over 1,000 Da'esh videos, is not specific to one platform so can be used to support the detection of terrorist propaganda across a range of video-streaming and download sites in real-time."

That's as may be but the method of training the software is itself open to question: it relates to videos but does not mention text or "memes" which can be equally damaging. Furthermore, while the software recognised the Da'esh videos, it is not clear what proportion of the total number of videos it screened were in fact Da'esh originated. While the figures show that there is a high success rate (only six percent false negatives), they also show an astonishing rate of false positives - 0.005%.

New Home Office analysis demonstrates that Daesh supporters used more than 400 unique online platforms to push out their poisonous material in 2017, highlighting the importance of technology that can be applied across different platforms. Previous research has found the majority of links to Daesh propaganda are disseminated within two hours of release, while a third of all links are disseminated within the first hour.


The new research also shows 145 new platforms from July until the end of the year had not been used before.


- UK Government statement

The statement focuses on Da'esh video content. It makes no mention of terrorism by any other group nor, even, whether the system can be applied to organised crime.

The figures are enough to give any financial crime monitoring company and its clients apoplexy but before becoming too excited, the exact scope of the product should be fully investigated.