Modern technologies are increasingly determining our lives in today's society. The challenges this situation presents to police work are met at the Bundeskriminalamt by an interdisciplinary team made up of scientists, technicians, engineers and criminal police officers with an affinity for technology. In the Technical Development and Service Centre current and future technological developments are analysed by considering the potential consequences of these developments in terms of practical police work and their scientific implications. Both the potential for misuse by perpetrators and possible applications in the field of police work are analysed.
In order to obtain important information, the Service Centre conducts research and development projects, develops new methods and tests new technologies and operational tactics. Another main task is the search for traces and evidence of criminal acts in networks or appliances of information and communication technology and their seizure as legally relevant evidence for the penal proceedings.
The objective of the broad range of activity is both to give new impetus to crime prevention, e.g. by providing advice on relevant technical preventive measures, and also to provide support for pending police investigations at a high technological level as a service unit.
In this respect, the Bundeskriminalamt performs activities, among others, in the following issue areas:
The rapid and complex development of technologies is hard to forecast and requires intense observation. An early awareness of potentially relevant technologies makes it possible to actively embrace the opportunities presented for innovative operational and investigation technologies. At the same time, an awareness of abuse and damage potentials leads to new suppression and prevention approaches.
The technologies identified by systematic and continuous observation are thoroughly analysed as regards their relevance to the police and, in special cases, also tested.
Special information technologies
The continually and fast growing quantity of digital data poses a challenge to the security authorities. This challenge must be countered by means of modern, intelligent analysis methods (information retrieval, data mining). Conventional software is not always suitable to meet police needs. That is why in many cases special software solutions and methods, especially with regard to the acquisition of information on the Internet, are developed by the Service Centre itself.
The development of feasible methods for detecting explosives, narcotic drugs, arms and other criminally relevant substances as well as the systematic testing of commercially available detection techniques are among the core duties of this task area.
Operational and security technology
The Service Centre is responsible for ensuring that new technical developments are integrated into the performance of police duties. This also implies developing its own and testing external police-specific applications. In the field of security technology, for example, armoured vehicles and protection vests are tested.
Police investigations are supported with special technical aids and advice.
The use of individual biological characteristics (fingerprint, voice, face, eyes, etc.) for identification of a person will replace the techniques applied so far more and more. Here the police are called upon to know the opportunities and weaknesses well.
The fact that modern technology and various ways of communicating are increasingly penetrating all areas of life opens up unimagined possibilities for committing offences. The field of activity of the criminals ranges from online fraud, phishing and identity theft to spying out data and computer sabotage constituting a public danger.
Moreover, the commission of conventional misdemeanours and crimes is facilitated by the use of modern technologies.
The Bundeskriminalamt observes the progress in this area very intensely and develops its own strategies and methods both for prevention and prosecution. A main task is the search for traces and evidence of criminal acts in networks or appliances of information and communication technology and their seizure as legally relevant evidence for the penal proceedings. On the basis of the analysis of the modus operandi, operational technology and tactics are continuously adapted.
Digital traces in computers, communication devices and networks play an increasingly important role in investigative proceedings. The Service Centre supports the investigations with the seizure of data carriers as evidence and prepares them for criminal analysis.
The activities take place within the framework of quality management and are accredited in accordance with DIN 17025 and 17020. In the field of computer forensics, the Bundeskriminalamt claims to play a leading role for the police. Intense research and development work is performed in cooperation with public and private agencies.