On 7-8 December 2023, Trilateral’s Law Enforcement and Community Safeguarding cluster brought TRACE and other EU funded projects together for the first Law Enforcement Technology Symposium, which took place at the Louwman Museum in the Hague, Netherlands. The museum celebrates innovative design, and the research event showcased the advances of eight policing-related projects covering money laundering, firearm and human trafficking, the security of public spaces, and child safety.
The Symposium assembled researchers and law enforcement agencies to show how Trilateral Research’s sociotech approach enhances the ethical use of technology in policing. The event began with introductions from the TRACE team who guided guests through a technical demonstration of the project’s money-laundering investigative tool. From here, flagship Trilateral Research products CESIUM and Honeycomb were presented, with illustration of how these child safety and human trafficking tools are helping those at risk of victimisation.
Widespread travel disruption meant that we adapted into a hybrid event, and guests were able to learn about the ethical and technical aspects of the GATHERINGS, HEROES, ALUNA, DARLENE, and CEASEFIRE projects, and hear expert keynotes from UNICRI, Europol, and the Gendarmerie Nationale. These agencies highlighted developments in AI and technology procurement for police, with societal acceptance of potentially intrusive tools requiring care from the earliest stages of design. A discussion of the trends in global AI regulation noted that the ‘Brussels effect’ of the EU AI Act might shape international responses just as GDPR did, with tech companies aligning with the first regulatory mover even as key jurisdictions like China and the USA continue to formulate legislation. Diverging global regulation will be pivotal to how law enforcement operations develop in different jurisdictions, and the extent to which risks are managed and advances harnessed. A closing roundtable of experts from the TRACE project, Trilateral, and our keynote speakers discussed the hazards and opportunities of AI and other emerging technologies for law enforcement, stressing positive steps towards debiasing systems and the opportunity to create a safer world.
Collaborations like the Law Enforcement Technology Symposium give developers and practitioners insight into one another’s needs and concerns and ensure the viability of promising new tools. Ethical research is vital and, while no player has all the answers, we are increasingly asking the right questions.