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PROACTIVE use of the internet of things to detect terrorist behaviour in the public

Posted by on June 8, 2014.

The hidden danger in Edward Snowden’s treasure trove of NSA documents is that it has drawn all eyes towards it — we no longer notice potential threats outside of the NSA.

Take, for example, PROACTIVE (PRedictive reasOning and multi-source fusion empowering AntiCipation of attacks and Terrorist actions In Urban EnVironmEnts) — a project being funded by the European Union. I can find little about this project except a basic description:

The main goal of PROACTIVE is to research a holistic citizen-friendly multi sensor fusion and intelligent reasoning framework enabling the prediction, detection, understanding and efficient response to terrorist interests, goals and courses of actions in an urban environment. To this end, PROACTIVE will rely on the fusion of both static knowledge (i.e. intelligence information) and dynamic information (i.e. data observed from sensors deployed in the urban environment)…

…Overall, PROACTIVE will leverage cutting-edge technologies such as the Net-centric Enable Capability (NEC) approach and the emerging Internet-of-Things concept, which are key enablers of new capabilities associated with real-time awareness of the physical environment, as well as with tracking and analysing human behaviour. PROACTIVE will address the technological challenges that inhibit the wider deployment of NEC/ IoT in anti-terrorist applications.

The project has an official website: It provides information on the extent of the project, but with no details. For example,

Potntial PROACTIVE users

Potential PROACTIVE users

implies that PROACTIVE will be used by the intelligence agencies — but the site does not provide the presentation in question.

Much is made of the need to stay within the bounds of European privacy legislation — but the project has anti-terrorism and intelligence agencies at its heart. That means that its use can be claimed as national security use — and that means that it is not bound by the EU’s privacy laws.

So what we have is an EU-funded project designed to use the internet of things to provide constant monitoring and behavioural analysis of the general public in public places. And if that does not require closer public scrutiny than I have been able to find, then the NSA’s a Dutchman’s uncle.

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