Knowing Where and How Criminal Organizations Operate Using Web Content

Very significant work with SWJ El Centro counter non-state OPFOR (opposing force) implications.  Presented at the 21st ACM International Conference on Information and Knowledge Management (CIKM 2012) October 29 to November 2, 2012 in Maui, Hawaii. The MOGO (Making Order using Google as an Oracle) discussed in this paper is highly cost effective and provides very significant OSINT (open source intelligence) analytical capabilities via a web crawler approach. See the trafficker distribution figures, politician-municipality significant relations, and cartel migration patterns for applications. Also note the acknowledgement section re institutions supporting this project.  

Knowing Where and How Criminal Organizations Operate Using Web Content

Michele Coscia and Viridiana Rios

KddLab - ISTI CNR/ Department of Government - Harvard University

We develop a framework that uses Web content to obtain quantitative information about a phenomenon that would otherwise require the operation of large scale, expensive intelligence exercises. Exploiting indexed reliable sources such as online newspapers and blogs, we use unambiguous query terms to characterize a complex evolving phenomena and solve a security policy problem: identifying the areas of operation and modus operandi of criminal organizations, in particular, Mexican drug trafficking organizations over the last two decades. We validate our methodology by comparing information that is known with certainty with the one we extracted using our framework. We show that our framework is able to use information available on the web to efficiently extract implicit knowledge about criminal organizations. In the scenario of Mexican drug trafficking, our findings provide evidence that criminal organizations are more strategic and operate in more differentiated ways than current academic literature thought.

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Tags : cartels, drug trafficking, El Centro, Mexico, narco-trafficking


I don't know about criminal content, but in terms of my areas of interest (intellectual histories of fancy pants scholars) searching Google books for phrases (as in, whatever strikes my fancy that day) is sort of interesting. The problem is (and I'm a lay person playing around with ideas) what to make of any of it. Human beings have a tendency to superimpose patterns even where none exists. How to work around this suspicious phenomenon?