SICH Semantic Illegal Content Hunter
SICH project's specific objective to contribute at facilitating the identification and taking down of illegal textual content from all information resources available online, in order to empower LEAs, but also other EU stakeholders active in the prevention/fight against online crime.
In monitoring/analysing online illegal content, big efforts have always been addressed to multimedia files (e.g. images, video, software piracy, etc.). Less attention has been historically paid to texts. This depends mostly on the fact that texts (communications, data, conversations, news, web sites, blogs) are mostly unstructured data and rarely have an organized form, such as a database structure.
As a consequence, the activities of analysis and processing such information become largely inefficient, onerous and time-consuming. Besides, large part of useful information risks to keep out of sight from analysts because of the vast amount of information available, which changes rapidly. However, to effectively monitor, prevent and combat online illegal content/crime, textual content analysis, supported by semantic technology, play a crucial role.
Moreover, the need for solutions facilitating the identification/taking down of illegal textual content is common to all EU LEAs and public/private stakeholders committed with the prevention and fight against online crime.
At present, there are no concrete tools addressing this issue or they are not available for LEAs and relevant target groups.
Project SICH aim to create a smart tool able to support investigation's activities in order to:
  • discover illegal contents (related to three separate areas: Xenophobia/Racism, Online Illegal Gambling and Novel Psychoactive Substances - NPS) on the Net
  • capture "weak signals" and identify trends. Through trend's identification, we can prevent a potentially dangerous criminal actions' sequence.

What are the areas of interest of SICH?
  • Cyber Racism - commonly referred to as "racism of the cyber world". It includes racism that occurs on Internet, specifically on racist websites, with pictures, blogs, videos, online racist comments, in e-mail or on social networks. The online activities or published materials resulting in offensive comments with regard to race, color or national/ethnic origin of people, have the same effect as offline similar activities. Cyber Racism can take the shape of racial hatred or cyber bullying; the multifaceted nature of this phenomenon makes work of LEA's analysts, that have the rule of locating and tracking documents in the network that are connected to Cyber Racism, particularly complex

  • Online Illegal Gambling - Gambling on the Internet involves huge volumes of transactions and cash flows that can overshadow and hide money laundering. Players do not have to deal with a physical tangible product; coins are not transferred in a concrete way. As a result, money having illegal origin can be cleaned at the entrance through a bet and return cleaned as results of gambling winnings. In addition, gambling winnings are tax free in many jurisdictions, making impractical official reports to governments and authorities that are often not able to monitor these illegal operations. The number of online unauthorized operators exceed by more than ten times the number of authorized ones. This trend, combined with tendency of many sites to operate on the "clandestine Web" (the so-called "Dark Web") that exploits the virtual currency, is an indication of challenge's magnitude for LEA.

  • Novel Psychoactive Substances - NPS - A psychoactive drug or psychotropic substance is a chemical pharmacologically active substance that acts primarily on the central nervous system where it affects brain function, resulting in alteration in perception, mood, consciousness, cognition, and behavior. The recent appearance of new psychoactive substances, combined with the possibilities offered by the Internet to disseminate information quickly, has raised many new concerns in the legislative field, in research activities on new substances and in public health's field. In this context, it is crucial to find a methodology that promptly and accurately identify phenomena related to the emergence of new drugs and that prevent at an early stage all actions associated to the production of these drugs before they reach the market.

What are SICH's beneficiaries?
  • EU Member States' LEA (including Europol and Interpol)
  • NGOs and all those organizations (private or not) involved in the fight against crime on the Internet (hotlines, helplines, Safer Internet Centres, Cybercrime Centres of Excellence Network, etc.).
  • all those experts and researchers belonging to those scientific community's groups working on the project issues
  • media which want to deal with complex issues having restrict availability of time-to-work

How does we intend to disseminate SICH project?
Through a program of publication in scientific conferences or events related to the domains of interest; organizing dissemnination sessions for potential end users (scheduled for August 2015).

Please, click on this link to dowload project brochure.