The federal government is considering rolling out a high-tech version of the venerable tip line for reporting crimes and suspicious activity.
The Australian Federal Police is eyeing the potential rollout of a system that would allow members of the public to upload a range of information in digital formats — including “audio and video media, imagery, email or location data” — as a way of augmenting the data gathered as part of the government’s national security hotline program.
Documents released by the AFP reveal that the agency is seeking a commercial software solution that would support tip-off arrangements and the hotline, which is maintained by the Attorney-General’s Department.
“The AFP, as lead agency, in undertaking this project will consider the interests of a number of agencies including the AGD, the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission and the Department of Immigration and Border Protection,” states a document released by the AFP as part of an approach to market.
The system could also be used by ACT Police.
The AFP is currently seeking information on the implementation of a “public upload capability” but has not yet issued a formal request for tender.
“In this digital age direct upload of content is an emerging law enforcement capability, particularly to enable timely provision of information,” the document states.
“The AFP’s development of this capability will also provide a broader benefit to the new Department of Home Affairs and will assist the national security hotline program,” the document adds.
“Indeed, such facilities are already in place with law enforcement agencies in the USA and UK (and was one of the factors assisting in the early arrest of the Boston marathon bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev). Recent events across the world have highlighted the key role that timely information provided by the public has played in the investigation and resolution of such incidents.”
The AFP said it is only interested in information about solutions that have been successfully implemented elsewhere or will shortly be implemented.
An upload system would have to work with the AFP’s technology stack, including Oracle databases and SAS’s Visual Analytics. The AFP is eyeing pilot programs hosted in its HQ or a Canberra data centre.