Commissioner Pedro Agudo (Lugo, 1967) is in charge, as head of the Digital Transformation brigade, of coordinating the open source tools of the Police. Outside of a security body, they are known as Osint. But a police officer has access to court orders and other legal resources: “The first debate I generate is to see what is open source and what is not,” he says. The Police use a “restricted Osint”, he adds.
Agudo gave a talk about his work at C1b3rwall, the annual congress on cybersecurity that the Police hold at the National Police School in Avila and that every year brings together thousands of attendees. Agudo was the commissioner who led the investigation into the murder of the young Samuel Luiz in A Coruna in 2021. There he used artificial intelligence to clarify the video of the events: “They say that I was the first to request the help of an AI and treatment of images”.
That year Agudo also went to the Congress of Deputies to testify in the Investigation Commission on the use of Interior resources to favor the PP. Now, with his work in charge of the Osint techniques, he is in Madrid at the same time that another Galician, Alberto Nunez Feijoo, is the favorite to be the next president of the Government. A Google search illustrates a shady past: “Yeah, yeah, 50% hate me and the other half love me,” he says, joking about improving his SEO to look better. In 2022, Commissioner Santiago Maroto, who had begun to direct Osint’s work in the Police, passed the baton to him: “The first to direct it is a purely technological commissioner, Santiago Maroto, who knows a lot. I come from La Coruna and I go to this division and Maroto teaches me and trains me. Until he asks me to lead the Osint group in 2022 ″.
Ask. Does Osint for the Police mean something different?
Answer. What we want is to make the most of the resources we have, whether they are free or not. From the division we evaluate the technology. Many companies come to see us with Osint technology. The improvements are almost monthly. Both Maroto and I have been researchers and we know what we want.
Q. But the Police do not use only “open sources”. The Police often have access to the phone, to the search history. They are not “open” resources.
R. Yes. But access with a court order requires a technique to perfect it. If you make an extraction after obtaining the court order and master the Osint techniques you get more performance.
Q. Is it a job where you have to learn everything?
R. A bit. I improve myself because I am learning from companies. If you have daily visits from companies that come to bring you the latest in technology, you learn much more.
Q. Sometimes the bad guys make it easier and post photos of their work on Instagram.
R. The robbing gangs, Romanian or sometimes Georgian, often commit a crime and expose the loot for hours.
Q. To pimp or to sell it?
R. To pimp They upload it to the networks thinking that the Police will not follow up. We have arrested many people like that. Photography not only gives the identity, it also gives the place. We have also seen photographs of meetings posted on networks. There are other mafia groups that like to show off, for example the Camorra, and they appear in Ibiza with famous girls or stolen watches.
Q. Is there information on TikTok too?
R. There are many videos on TikTok of people that we may be looking for. If you manage to track a profile because you manage to identify it, you already have it located. And if one day you see her in a pool, you can check the hotel where she is.
Q. Until TikTok.
R. When you have an investigation, you go to all the legal elements that can help you. TikTok is one of them.
Q. Is ChatGPT already useful for research?
R. Why not? To collect data, artificial intelligence can already help in investigations. For example, with an economic structure, a company, relationships between people, synergies between companies. How does a generic structure work or is it updated as ChatGPT-4 [que ya puede conectarse a internet] to a current structure? It can help journalists a lot.
Q. But the police too?
R. Sure, of course.
Q. Is there artificial intelligence in other fields?
R. In compliance with the Data Protection Law, when it comes to facial recognition, anything is possible. But it is more future-oriented.
R. Facial or anthropometric recognition will be perfected. The Police has just presented a system called Abis. It has facial recognition that already works very well, but the most important thing is what’s coming in the future. AI can improve these types of tools.
Q. But there are legal limits.
R. Only if it is compatible with the Data Protection Law. If you have a camcorder law passed that allows you to record, AI can improve that tool.
Q. How does the Osint work within an investigation?
R. In all ways. Within a judicialized investigation, at the beginning of an investigation to take it to the judge or prosecutor, it also works as preventive measures. If hate is discussed in various forums, it will be necessary to see if they commit crimes or not.
R. There are preventive searches. We know that there is a certain forum of people who are talking about the Holocaust. There could be a hate crime. That must be checked preventively. Or if you get into a free forum and leave a trace, that’s also Osint because you don’t need any authorization to access that forum. You are still able to identify a nickname and see where they have been, who they have met within the network.
Q. Then come the steps restricted to citizens.
R. The most restricted are always prosecuted. There are stable guarantees. I miss researching. Here I only coordinate. Tomorrow if I were in a research unit I would take everything I’ve learned to investigate. We evaluate the tool and make it available to the operating units. I know what I have to look for. I’m heading to who did my work years ago.
Q. What difference is there with the people who do Osint outside the Police?
R. There are specialists outside the body who use the resources even better than us. We are also training people like that in the body and we have many. But there are people out there who have been making Osint all their lives. You have to walk next to the experts on the street because they have a lot of information. When we use these techniques you can’t let the investigators go free, there is a colleague who supervises.
Q. In the talk he said that emojis are a new language for criminals.
R. The bad guys use another language. We have evolved from the topic of drugs on mobile Encrochat. We entered that system and decrypted it. But today, if you do not master a language of emoticons, you can be left out of an intervention. They use normal phones, but if you are looking for communication between criminals who only use emoticons, if you don’t have their passwords, you won’t find out. It’s like Enigma, the encrypted language of the Nazis.
Q. But is snow a drug, for example?
R. Some are easy. But others are words. That’s why I mention Enigma.
Q. Like a hieroglyph.
R. Clear. I can mean “reunion” and the smiley is an orange. That’s on another phone. Everything evolves and the bad ones too. You have to find the source code.
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Source: EL PAIS