18 May 2013

Criminal Intelligence Sharing

The Australian Parliamentary Joint Committee on Law Enforcement has released the 122 page report of its Inquiry into the gathering and use of criminal intelligence.

The report states that -
As serious and organised crime in Australia exploits the legislative, structural and resource gaps in law enforcement, it demands a nationally consistent approach. It also requires strategic investigative methodologies focused on intelligence-led investigations as well as identifying sector vulnerabilities open to exploitation in order to prevent and disrupt serious and organised crime rather than relying on reactive policing.
As the national criminal intelligence body, the central function of the Australian Crime Commission (ACC) is to collect, analysis and disseminate criminal intelligence in relation to nationally significant organised crime. Its modus operandi is to work in partnership with law enforcement, national security agencies, government and industry to deliver advanced criminal intelligence. Recent amendments to the Australian Crime Commission Act 2002 have allowed for greater dissemination of ACC information to partner agencies, government and the private sector.
No warnings from the Committee about the problematics of sharing with the private sector.

The report goes on  to comment that -
However, evidence to the committee suggests that the intention behind these new arrangements, which is to provide for a more comprehensive response to organised crime, cannot be fully realised until existing limitations, challenges and hurdles within the current criminal intelligence framework are addressed.
This inquiry has brought to light serious legislative, technological, resource and cultural impediments to the flow of intelligence which produce unequal intelligence holdings, an incomplete picture of criminal threats and undermine stakeholder confidence. Some law enforcement agencies hold reservations about sharing their own information and seem not to recognise the value added to that information when converted into intelligence and returned to them. Such concerns are exacerbated by the absence of a common approach to collecting, collating, analysing and disseminating criminal intelligence underpinning a common ethos. Efforts to establish an interoperable criminal intelligence system capable of producing a comprehensive national picture of organised crime are hindered for these reasons.
The report goes on to state that the Australian Criminal Intelligence Model (ACIM) views "criminal intelligence as a national asset which can be collected once and used often", seeking "to establish an interoperable system for the free flow of criminal intelligence based on consistent standards, processes and protocols".
The ACIM brings together for the first time the siloed domains of serious and organised crime, national security, and policing and community safety. By bringing all agencies involved in each of the respective domains under the one model and enabling them to draw on intelligence across all three domains, the initiative seeks to provide for a safer Australia. The efficacy of a centralised multi-sector criminal intelligence system was most recently highlighted in relation to the ongoing investigation into the Boston explosions of 16 April 2013. Investigations into criminal acts of this nature extend beyond any single domain or agency as they encompass matters of national security and counter-terrorism, organised crime as well as policing and community safety. As contemporary crimes can traverse the three domains, contemporary law enforcement must also be able to traverse available intelligence across the respective domains.
The ACIM envisages an intelligence partnership whereby law enforcement agencies collect and contribute intelligence to the national holdings. This partnership is complemented by various national strategic frameworks and plans including the Commonwealth Organised Crime Strategic Framework which underscore the importance of an intelligence-led multi-agency response to organised crime. In this report, the committee considers some of the key challenges to establishing the ACIM. It examines the current criminal intelligence context and stakeholders. It explores the vision and principles that underpin the ACIM and highlights some of the key considerations before the ACC in establishing an interoperable system that all Commonwealth, state and territory law enforcement agencies contribute to and benefit from. Conceptualising intelligence as a national asset raised questions regarding controls on information sharing and access, including overall responsibility for and ownership of the intelligence. In this report, the committee makes a number of recommendations to ensure that all agencies are accountable for information and intelligence contributed to the national holding while ensuring that there are strong accountability and oversight arrangements as well as standards in relation to intelligence gathering and sharing.
The Committee's recommendations are as follows -
R 1 The committee recommends that the Australian Crime Commission and the Australian Federal Police provide it with a detailed report on the findings and recommendations of the Australian Criminal Intelligence Database (ACID) and Australian Law Enforcement Intelligence Network (ALEIN) scoping study, National Information and Intelligence Needs Analysis, and assessment of the AFP's Project Spectrum. The report should provide details on:
• the recommendations regarding ACID and ALEIN and how they will be implemented including a timeframe;
• the outcome of the National Information and Intelligence Needs Analysis;
• the assessment of the AFP's Spectrum Program; and
• how the recommendations of each respective review and assessment will inform the development of the Australian Criminal Intelligence Model and maximise interoperability between existing databases and systems.
R 2   ... that the Australian Crime Commission (ACC) as the lead agency on criminal intelligence and the ACIM provide it with a report on how the ACC will ensure that all current information technology systems are fully utilised and accessible under the ACIM.
R 3 ... that the Australian Criminal Intelligence Forum (ACIF) develop for the endorsement of all 17 ACIM agencies an information management strategy. As a first step in developing the strategy, the ACIF should define key terms including a clear, working definition of criminal intelligence and provide descriptions of relevant concepts and processes.
R 4 ... that the Attorney-General's Department conduct a review of disclosure of information procedures under Freedom of Information (FOI). The review should provide recommendations on any legislative, administrative or policy reforms required to achieve a consistent approach to FOI requests for information under the ACIM.
R 5 ... that the Attorney-General's Department review law enforcement data security management practices, standards, principles and safeguards. The review should provide recommendations on:
• standards and uniform principles for the security and integrity of information contributed to the ACIM. These standards should detail how ACIM agencies are to hold, protect, secure and manage ACIM intelligence; and
• an accountability and oversight mechanism to monitor compliance with the uniform standards and principles.
R 6  ... the establishment of a national repository for criminal intelligence as part of the Australian Criminal Intelligence Model.
R 7 ... that a cost-benefit analysis be undertaken in relation to the options for a national repository. This analysis should take into consideration:
• the determining factors detailed in Chapter 6 of this report;
• the need to complement existing information technology initiatives such as the AFP's Spectrum Program;
• the need for interoperability and complementarity with current databases including the National Criminal Investigation DNA Database and the National Automated Fingerprint Identification System; and
• the intelligence sharing model used by the Australian intelligence community.
R 8  ... the standardisation of security clearance processes. To this end, the committee strongly encourages all state and territory jurisdictions to align their security clearance processes with that of the Australian Government Security Vetting Agency.
R 9 ... that the Australian Crime Commission in collaboration with the Attorney-General's Department establish as part of a licencing requirement to the national repository or other administrative arrangement, a formal agreement which requires signatory agencies to declare a commitment to contribute information and intelligence to the national holdings.
R 10  ... the establishment of an accountability and oversight regime to ensure that agencies are accountable for their contribution to the national holdings. As part of this regime, the Senior Officers' Group on Organised Crime (SOG on OC) should provide an annual oversight report to the Ministerial Council for Police and Emergency Management—Police and Standing Committee of Attorneys-General on the contribution of each respective agency for review and remedial action where required.
R 11  ... that the feasibility of extending the jurisdiction of the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity (ACLEI) to include oversight of the Australian Securities & Investments Commission, the Attorney-General's Department and the Australian Taxation Office be referred to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on ACLEI for inquiry and report.
R 12   ... that the ACC provide a detailed account of progress towards the ACIM in its annual reports.