Data Mining at Homeland Security
Data mining involves extracting data in structured or unstructured forms with the help of certain techniques. Often, Homeland Security and Law Enforcement professionals require information stored in federal, disparate, and regional databases for data mining and analysis in order to derive actionable intelligence. The process employs rules methods to identify patterns, trends, and reveal information that can be utilized in predicting upcoming events, link them, and organize related data differently. Homeland Security applies link analysis and visualization tools to identify terrorists or suspects. Moreover, the former is an effective method for finding required information in complex and enormous data sets. Despite the existing tools, there is need to adapt new technology to deliver effective security using link analysis and data mining while also finding elaborate measures to be informed about emerging trends and threats to national security that can only be curbed though effective intelligence gathering techniques.
Data Analysis Tools
Advancement in technology has made it possible to investigate the vast quantity of data, which facilitates crime analysis that does not have a standard definition, as the police use it for mapping crimes and producing crime statistics. In regards to other agencies, this analysis means focusing on different police reports and suspect information in order to deal with serial robbers and sex offenders. Law Enforcement and Homeland Security professionals conduct investigations to find meaningful information among large quantities of data and disseminate it to investigative agents who are tasked with suppressing criminal acts and apprehending offenders. Thus, this analysis is helpful in preventing crimes, which is less costly compared to catching criminals.
Data analysis involving data mining methods collects a sizeable amount of historical data that may surpass the expectation in a model or framework. Nonetheless, thousands of criminal records can provide precise estimation and offer an appealing model. Software, such as Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Access, and Weikatto Environment for Knowledge Analysis (WEKA), are used to analyze data on crime. Furthermore, such a technique as association is applied in data mining to scrutinize the relationships between diverse characteristics and the objective of the mining process. Link analysis allows the department to find information from extensive volumes of data (Samanta and Joglekar 1782). This strategy is used to identify events that are connected in terms of the occurrence of crimes. Its main objective is to observe common indicators of outcomes to exploit existing opportunities. Consequently, Homeland Security and Law Enforcement professionals can mine information for offenses distributions in a particular period and act on the relevant preventive measure or cause of action.
System Assessment and Validation for Emergency Responders is tasked with providing relevant, impartial, and cost-effective validation and assessment of software and equipment. This tool helps responders obtain, use, and maintain equipment properly while also ensuring the availability of feedback through an enhanced Web-based system, and validating and assessing the interoperability of products contained in the system. Presently, the Department of Homeland Security has developed regional clearinghouses that support jurisdictions with inadequate manpower. The agency has created area and regional databases in such situations where information is accessible through browsers that guide users towards pre-defined queries (Thuraisingham 567).
Sometimes, the pre-defined queries fail to allow customized or content-based performance. The department prefers flexible access, structured, and easy-to-use queries for a particular task or for handling circumstances and aspects associated with an emergency based on data analysis versus content analysis. The DHS adds to the databases from their records management system that stores information such as suspects’ profiles, locations, and events in a specific area (Thuraisingham 569). The availability of criminal data from several locations and databases ensures the effective delivery of their mandate.
Enforcement agencies work together to address the main security issues facing government bodies. Thus, Homeland Security and Law Enforcement professionals have deployed and developed special technical investigative tools (Thuraisingham 556). There is a need for security information technology and engineering specialists, law enforcement practitioners, intelligence analysis experts, business transformational and training coaches. The expertise should comprise of senior official and counterterrorism communities at the state and international levels. Effective responses entail an integrated and collaborative approach from the local, regional, federal, state, and international partners. Consequently, modern intelligence gathering techniques need to relevant to help local law enforcers prevent attacks both at the local and international levels.
Data Collection and Processing
Homeland Security collects data in several main attributes. Among them are crime ID and type; the victim’s name, age, job, location, marital status, and gender; day, date, and time of a crime. Real-world data, which is usually disorderly, incomplete, and inconsistent, is preprocessed to obtain a suitable type for analysis. For the acquisition of desired information, various preprocessing techniques are used such as removing outliers, filling missing records, and data reduction through aggregation and normalization. Many techniques used in data mining are passed on data repository known as the Data warehouse whose function is to integrate data from different avenues. Such information can take several forms, including spreadsheets, XML, databases, files, and so on (Samanta and Joglekar 1783). Then, data is sanitized and converted into the desired format; it is stored in the data warehouse that may have details, summarized either highly or slightly, depending on the type of analysis. Therefore, these mechanisms and processes make it easily accessible to security agencies and convenient to apply in their investigations.
Among the trends that will enable security agencies to use extremely refined algorithms to source data from different departments and provide proper perceptions and reports, distributed data mining is the first one. This method slowly gains recognition since it contains the mining of large amounts of data stored in different agencies or company sites. Another trend is multimedia data mining that comprises of the extraction of data from diverse types of software sources, such as videos, hypertexts, and audio files, in order to improve it into an arithmetical illustration in different formats. In law enforcement agencies, this method can be used in executing similarity checks on various individual’s statistics and to recognize associations. This technology develops quicker than ever.
The evolving trends in technology has made it easier for Law Enforcement and Homeland Security professionals to ensure the security of the country’s citizens. Therefore, the various trends of present policing include facial recognition, social media, drones, robots, and so on. Notably, the adoption of cloud solutions has been a key development in the activities of the DHS. The use of this technology is on the rise, and it mostly involves open source. The latter is used to gage a firm’s cloud application. In order to follow all latest changes in technology, many agencies have shifted to open source. Additionally, the majority of law enforcement institutions have faced the threat of information being accessed by unauthorized parties. In such cases, they need to adopt open source security due to its transparency. Therefore, data security is crucial in all organizations.
Homeland Security and Law Enforcement agencies face a complex and dynamic set of challenges, among which terrorist attacks present a serious threat to national security. Their effect on citizens is direct, and they can occur with little or without warning, while their outcomes can be unpredictable. Therefore, security agencies should be equipped with the right tools needed to maintain national security. Intelligence gathering should be effective through the maximization of data mining and exploiting opportunities from link analysis. Research has guided a new path in intelligence gathering that is expected to deal with emerging trends and sophistication in criminal activities domestically and internationally. With the help of relevant tools and resources, the DHS is able to disseminate information needed for deterrence, response, prevention, and preemption of crime and terrorist attacks in the United States. Data mining and link analysis facilitate measures that are necessary for achieving these goals.