DIGITAL PHYSICAL POLICING – SECURITY, INVESTIGATION, INTELLIGENCE ETC.
COVID-19 has proved that the only way to be connected to physical world has been digital technology. Cyber physical has become one single continuum of human existence. Treating them as two different worlds can land you in a mess, to get out of it might take a lifetime. The common police belief is that these are two different worlds and if they collate somewhere and for what purpose is none of the common police officers and policemen’s concern. When the criminals have been the best proponents of technology and they get the physical connect / camouflage also right, then where is the choice? When 98% of our transactions, actions, movements, conversations etc have a digital footprint, directly or indirectly, it has to be our focus area.
The general understanding is that the cyber part is somebody else’s job, either within the police or outside of it. If it comes to cyber forensics, then it becomes another complicated story. If their understanding of forensics for the investigative component would have been at the same as that of cyber forensics, most of the evidence would have been missed out. As in other forensic evidence, guiding cyber forensics and getting the digital evidence is the job of the investigator and of nobody else. Cyber is nothing new now, it has been with us for decades and for each of our life’s needs, we have been using it endlessly. Either, if we don’t understand or not using it to the fullest, certainly we are doing injustice to the evidence which could have come out of it.
The question is, can your investigative skills remain a par, without this capability.* The best analogy would be the competence with firing a weapon. The skill has to be with you, accepted that you might not be a crack shooter. How can a simple perimeter wall be transformed into a dynamic and real time fortress with CCTV thermal imaging, infra-red et al needs to be known by one and all. How much more secure does it become? We need it for police requirements as well. Can this huge investment in CCTVs not become a force multiplier, literally the third eye. Who will guide and who will inspect? This is the need of the hour, a new force cannot be created out of the blue. It is not required. It is a core police job. Some forces have transformed so well, can those not be models to replicate.
Open-source intelligence is where rubber meets the road. It is the mecca of cyber physical, a key to a variety of clues of investigation and intelligence both. How much progress have we made in this area? Is it a regular tool in our police arsenal? Or are we just satisfied with the social media cells, turning out to be like regular physical work, while our adversaries have bought tickets to the exploratory digital space. OSINT can take you into the cracks and crevices of the DarkNet. It can help you in finding clues where you feel nothing exists. It can help you in a much better understating of the digital underworld and through it the physical criminal world and its connects. DarkNet and digital world for sure does not exist in a vacuum Anything worthwhile intelligence cannot be extracted out of only the physical world today.
POLICING CAN MAINTAIN THE DIGITAL PHYSICAL DISCONNECT AT ITS OWN PERIL.