GRACE Demonstration workshop

News -

The GRACE project will be ending in November 2023 after three and half years.  As the GRACE platform and tools are facing its last development cycle, and as part of the dissemination and exploitation efforts of the project, the consortium held an online Demonstration Workshop on 20th June, with the goal to present the GRACE results to external end-users beyond the consortium. 

We are extremely grateful to those who attended the workshop which involved more than 130 individuals from Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) from 20 EU Member States (MS), 10 Associated Partners (including amongst others Colombia, Georgia, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, UK and Ukraine), Switzerland, and representatives from REA, DG HOME, National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) and Interpol.

The workshop focused on a general presentation of the GRACE project, platform and tools, followed by 3 breakout sessions to get detailed information about GRACE main three building blocks: i) Collaborative environment (NCMEC referrals ingestion, Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) analysis, case management), ii) Intelligence modules (prioritisation, cross-matching, trends analysis), and iii) Analytics tools (video/image and text/audio).

The workshops sessions were made interactive through the use of the Menti tool, which was used to ask questions bidirectionally from the audience to GRACE project and vice-versa. Some insights can be gathered from the results from the consultations made to the audience through Menti, with no statistical value, but of significant interest:

  • The audience was mostly composed by investigative officers involved in the fight against Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse Materials (CSEAM), followed by upper management officials.

  • An inability to cope with the non-stop increasing number of NCMEC referral in the last years and the high number of non-actionable referrals that they have to discard is reported.

  • In the day-to-day fight against CSEAM officers report a higher workload in the case management and reporting themselves that in the investigative related tasks (analyses, cross-referrals), showing a high demand of optimised tools in the management field.

  • Most of respondents also report a lack of access to automated tools for the classification of new CSEAM materials like GRACE proposes. As for the commercial products aiding in this fight Griffeye suite looks to be most deployed solution by international LEAs.

  • As for the interest of practitioners on the GRACE solutions, the 3 building blocks conceited interest but the most demanded tools were the following, listed in order of interest: cross-matching, case management, prioritisation, OSINT analysis, multimedia analytics (age and gender recognition and face re-identification were the most referred ones) and data ingestion.

  • New functions and capabilities of interest were also proposed by the audience mostly in the optimisation of the case management field, dark web analyses and social media hacking.

  • Information about the non-technology results of GRACE were also showcased and made available upon request: The Ethical and Legal Framework, GRACE CSEAM Ontology, Policy Recommendations to address online CSEAM and Guidelines and Best Practices for First Responders in CSEAM cases.

  • Both the overall GRACE platform, and the individual tools and modules, were of interest to the participating practitioners. In order to further engage them in the potential adoption of the tools up until the end of GRACE, the following strategy was shared with them

    • Participation in hands-on sessions allowing to test of the solutions, through a remote connection to the platform in the coming weeks,

    • Participation in a face-to-face hands-on Demonstration Worksop in the framework of GRACE final event, to take place in Madrid, Spain, in November 29th and 30th, 2023.

  • When asked, all respondents reported interest on taking part on the remote hands-on sessions, and interest of potentially adopting some individual tools, transferring to GRACE consortium the responsibility of responding to such demands.

We assess very positively the outcomes of the workshop. Moreover, we strive to confirm and gather further feedback via an online survey passed to participants post-event. Such inputs will be considered when addressing the exploitation pathways of the GRACE results in terms of i) which future scenarios might be envisaged for the further development of a GRACE integration solution beyond the GRACE project, where a prominent role by Europol or the new European Union Centre might be considered, ii) the provision of access to non-MS LEAs following free or advantageous licences. 

Ultimately, GRACE and the European Commission strives to further invest Research and Innovation efforts for increasing the performance of LEAs in the global fight against CSEAM, making the results readily available to MS and international LEAs and agencies.


Demo Workshop