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Digital evidence appears in nearly 90 percent of all crimes committed today.1 This is a massive increase. Only 20 years ago it was unusual to have digital evidence at the center of a case. It is now a big part of what juries and judges expect to see as part of the evidence that proves innocence or guilt.

To learn more about how Microsoft technology can help, visit our booth 5410 at the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Annual Conference 2022 in Dallas, Texas from October 15 to 18.

The volume of digital evidence is growing at an exponential rate

In our modern society, it’s not surprising that crimes often involve digital evidence. The ubiquity of cameras, cell phones, and laptops or tablets, along with vast quantities of email, texts, photos, social media posts, and other digital content has exponentially increased the volume of material investigators have to sift through to solve a crime.

With the ever-increasing volume of data, there are not enough hours in a day, week, or year for an investigator to review all the data. Even if they could review it all, how long would it take for them to categorize and file it in an organized way to be able to go back to a particular piece of information? Then, how do you find connections and correlations across all the data? In law enforcement, time-to-evidence is crucial.

Reviewing crime data poses big challenges

With limited resources, even the most skilled law-enforcement personnel are hard-pressed to comb through terabytes of data that may include hours of videos, tens of thousands of images, and hundreds of thousands of words in the form of text, email, and other sources.

One possible solution is to augment skilled investigators and forensic examiners with technology. Some of the key technological capabilities that can be applied to this problem are AI and machine learning. AI and machine learning models and applications create processes that read, watch, extract, index, sort, filter, translate, and transcribe information from text, images, and video.

By utilizing technology to carve through and analyze data, it’s possible to reduce the data mountain to a series of small hills of related content and add tags that make it searchable. That allows people to spend their time and energy on work that is most valuable in the investigation.

We’re ready to help

The good news is that help is available. Microsoft has multiple AI and machine learning processes within our Microsoft Azure Cognitive Services. These include video indexing, language identification and translation, object detection in images, and optical character recognition from text within images—just to mention a few. Azure Cognitive Services have multiple methods of being deployed and incorporated into existing solutions and workflows to help solve the massive data challenge.

The Microsoft public safety team of industry and technology experts can help to package together critical services and solutions to enable organizations to deploy into a Microsoft Azure environment quickly and efficiently. These services can then be configured and extended to enhance existing products and workflows that meet your specific needs. By integrating Azure Cognitive Services into existing systems, analysts, investigators, and examiners can continue using familiar tools that they are already trained to use, and organizations can continue to get value from previous investments.

Microsoft has a robust partner ecosystem that builds on the power of our Azure platform to support public safety organizations achieve their mission priorities. Many of your organizations are already utilizing these partners’ tools and can maximize their effectiveness by shifting from on-premises, stove-piped processes and systems to a fully integrated cloud platform.

Visit the Microsoft for Public Safety and Justice website to learn how Microsoft and our partners can help manage the exponentially growing amounts of data police now collect as evidence.

Customer trust through ethics and responsibility

Microsoft believes the use of AI-based technologies must always be applied through a lens of ethical use. In law enforcement, this is very important. AI must be accompanied by a policy and set of guidelines that describe how it is used, by whom it may be used, and for what purpose. There should be a clear line and distinction where AI stops, and a person takes over in the investigative process. AI should augment investigators to assist with the sorting, filtering, categorizing, searching, and recalling of data as well as the correlation of disparate information. All of this is then presented as investigative leads and suggestions to reduce the time to evidence and increase the speed of investigations. The investigator is enhanced by AI, not replaced by it. Well-designed policies and procedures openly shared with the public build trust and transparency, building support for the use of technology.

For more information please review the Microsoft On the Issues blog: Microsoft’s framework for building AI systems responsibly.

Join us at IACP 2022 Conference

Microsoft will be at the IACP Annual Conference 2022. Be sure to visit us at IACP 2022 in booth 5410. We will also be joined by our partners:

“Together, IDEMIA and Microsoft are enabling law enforcement agencies to maximize operational efficiency throughout the investigation process, from analyzing biometric traces to processing reliable evidence. Our combined expertise ensures services that are fast, accurate, highly available, and easy to integrate into agency IT architecture.”—Casey Mayfield, Senior Vice President, Justice & Public Safety at IDEMIA I&S.

“SAS and Microsoft are working together with Public Safety Agencies in modernizing the identification of risks, addressing harms, and building resiliency through responsible use of technology. This helps protect communities and increases confidence and trust by finding more, disrupting more, preventing more, and engaging more.”—Phil Thibodeau, former Assistant Commissioner, Forensics Science & Identification Services, RCMP and now Principal Industry Consultant at SAS.

In addition, we will feature several others at our “Meet the Partner” kiosk. We look forward to connecting with you and discussing your requirements and challenges.


1Digital forensics experts prone to bias, study shows. The Guardian.