Microsoft and Public Safety Partners to Tackle Emerging Public Safety Trends
Jan. 27, 2010
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announces Microsoft’s broader approach to Child Exploitation Tracking System.

REDMOND, Wash. — Jan. 27, 2010 — Today at the Worldwide Public Safety Symposium, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer outlined the ways that the company’s innovative technology and vast partner ecosystem will tackle the 21st century’s four core emerging public safety technology trends: cloud-based solutions, cybersecurity, unified communications and social media in public safety. This includes news that Microsoft will begin exploring how to support its Child Exploitation Tracking System (CETS) in the cloud.

With the help of key organizations focused on crimes against children, Microsoft and its public safety partners will begin exploring together how they can put CETS, a unique software tool that helps governments search, share and analyze evidence in child exploitation cases across police agencies, into a cloud-based solution to reach more police organizations nationally and globally. Microsoft is working with current CETS users, public safety organizations, and international and national law enforcement agencies to see if this new area of technology can do even more for their fight to keep kids safe.

“CETS is a powerful tool for helping police agencies around the world fight online child exploitation, and there’s no doubt that a cloud-based version will enable more public safety organizations to use it in their efforts,” said Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft. “We’re glad to work in close partnership with public safety agencies around the world that are focused on this issue because we believe the combination of their expertise in combating these kinds of crimes and our knowledge of technology can have a big impact on the effort to prevent online crimes against children.”

The Child Exploitation Tracking System contains powerful features that permit investigators to easily import, organize, analyze, share and search information, from the point of detection through the investigative phase. Using a cloud-based solution will help greatly expand the tool’s deployment, particularly into developing economies where cloud computing can address infrastructure challenges. It will also enhance how CETS is allowing governmental and law enforcement organizations to share, search and analyze evidence in child exploitation cases across police jurisdictions, cost effectively and quickly. Collaboration with the CETS community will also help identify and address key security and privacy issues that arise in cloud-based scenarios.

Transforming multiagency operational effectiveness, improving collaboration and information sharing, and building capacity in developing countries are the three key priorities in Microsoft’s approach to tackling these four core emerging trends.

“As we’ve seen most recently with the earthquake in Haiti, the ability to gather and access information in real time is crucial to saving lives,” said Tim Bloechl, managing director for worldwide public safety and national security at Microsoft. “The ability to know where all your assets are and prioritize courses of action for their deployment based upon technology capabilities improves situational awareness.”

Microsoft partners are playing a critical role in Haiti. Within 24 hours of the earthquake, Microsoft worked with partners to set up a collaboration portal for information exchange and situational awareness being used to coordinate the international relief efforts of the humanitarian community in Haiti. Microsoft also enacted the company’s disaster response protocol, which consists of outreach to lead government, intergovernment and nongovernment agencies involved in leading local and global response efforts to see what help we could provide. This included the facilitation exchange of information between civilian and military actors working together in Haiti earthquake relief efforts, through the provision based on Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 platform called the Civil-Military Overview at http://www.cimicweb.org. The Civil-Military Fusion Centre manages the Office SharePoint Server 2007 portal as an Allied Command Transformation initiative, and monitors events and facilitates communication between the international community on specific crises.

Just as important to responding to a disaster is preventing one. Microsoft’s Fusion Core solution strengthens the ability of government to identify potential terrorist threats and respond accordingly. The Fusion Core solution accesses and aggregates data from multiple, disparate sources, and displays it in a way that makes information easier to access and analyze by local law enforcement agencies. Public safety agencies demand greater agility from the information systems supporting them now more than ever, and this will only increase in the future.

“Today’s police officer will look dramatically different in 2015, as law enforcement organizations turn to geospatial technologies to analyze patterns relationships for visualization that maps crime,” said T. Jeff Vining, vice president of Government Research at Gartner Inc. “At Gartner, we’re anticipating wearable computer platforms where authorized users can access any network immediately with the ability to transmit interactive multimedia and geo-reference communications.”

In addition to the adoption of social media, wiki, tweets and blogging technology as a way of sharing data between people and organizations, there is a requirement to secure the environment to protect law enforcement sensitive data, and ensure privacy within local law. The most important positive development in unified communications is the continued progress toward the adoption of commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) solutions and tools offering effective information sharing, augmented by security policy and technology, without compromising organizational security.

The Microsoft secured unified communications vision brings formerly separate channels of communication and messaging together in a single identity, giving users access to streamlined communications. With presence awareness at the core — including smart cards, fingerprints and retina scans — unified communications makes this set of communications capabilities available from within the business processes and applications that public safety professionals use most.

Knowing that technology will continue to play a major role in delivering enhanced capabilities for intelligence-gathering and investigation, emergency response, transportation and border control, physical security, and disaster and crisis management is just one piece of looking toward the future. Technology alone is not the answer. It takes strong partnerships between experts in those fields and technology experts like those at Microsoft and their partners, so that together they can help improve public safety and national security.

About Microsoft’s Worldwide Public Safety Symposium

Microsoft’s Worldwide Public Safety Symposium, running today through Jan. 28, 2010, brings together more than 500 national security operatives, public safety professionals and criminal justice officials.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

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