NYPD and Microsoft Create a Next Generation Law Enforecement Big Data Solution

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We hear the term "big data" on a daily basis but usually in the context of how companies can leverage large amounts of consumer data, tweets, and likes to make business decisions. I came across an article which highlights how the way information is organized is making major changes to the way our government and law enforcement will operate in the future. Big data meets the New York Police Department.

On August 8, the New York Policy Department (NYPD) announced it has partnered with Microsoft to create a new system which will allow the department to analyze large amounts of data in order to improve the department's law enforcement efforts. The system, named the Domain Awareness System, provides novel surveillance, reporting, and  capabilities real-time. The system organizes existing sources of information including 3000 cameras, 2600 radiation detectors, license-plate readers and trackers, 911 call reports, and information from previous crime reports to provide a powerful, comprehensive tool for officers and investigators to be used for real time law enforcement.

The resources the tool organizes were all previously accessible to the department but not in a comprehensive way. Now, the department will be able to leverage data to make faster decisions and hopefully fight crime more effectively. For example, now officers can track a suspect's car over the course of the past few days, weeks, or months and also view 911 calls associated with that suspect all at once. The tool was developed with input from NYPD officers about how they organize crime data.

This new system will eventually be made available to other governments and will brings up many concerns over privacy. It will be interesting to see how the information will be accessed, stored, and protected.