Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

Cyber agent technology and intelligence agencies

Cyber agent technology and intelligence agencies is a project that is commissioned by Tracks Inspector, a Dutch company that develops innovative software.

Bart Custers
Tracks Inspector

In recent years, Tracks Inspector has developed software that can be characterized as cyber agent technology. This is technology that supports cyber agents (online actors) in an online environment by automating specific tasks. This technology offers opportunities to interact with people online, for instance, by using a chatbot. Tracks Inspector developed a specialized version of the cyber agent technology for the Sweetie 2.0 project of NGO Terre des Hommes. The technology in this project was designed in such a way that a highly realistic 10-year old girl could be simulated that was able to communicate online with suspects that showed sexual interest in children, with the goal of identifying these suspects.

Previous research was performed by eLaw, the Center for Law and Digital Technologies of Leiden University, on the legal aspects of this software in the context of criminal investigations. However, this research did not include the scope of intelligence agencies and the legal framework under which these agencies are operating. The cyber agent technology obviously offers opportunities for intelligence agencies in the Netherlands. That is why Tracks Inspector has requested eLaw to investigate how the developed software relates to the legal framework of the Intelligence Agencies Act (in Dutch: Wet op de inlichtingen- en veiligheidsdiensten – WIV), in order to see, on the one hand, to which extent the software can be used within the legal competences of intelligence agencies under this act and, on the other hand, to which extent the software can contribute to fulfil the legal obligations regarding the processing of the collected data (for instance, regarding the reliability and completeness of the data and the storage and erasure of the information).

This project is executed from August to October 2017.

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