Digital Transformation in Law Enforcement
Digital transformation law enforcement can be defined as “digital disruption”, “digital disruption and enforcement” or “digital disruption, digital control and digital detection”. It is the application of technology to the enforcement of civil law, which includes intelligence, law enforcement, and Homeland Security to disrupt, prevent the transmission of lawful intercepts, digital information systems and protect the infrastructure of critical business infrastructures from attack. It also covers intentional attacks using technology to disrupt an operation or network of electronic devices used in business. This term is increasingly being used by courts, media, communications industry, and other government agencies to describe cyber threats.
The traditional definition has been challenged by new interpretations that emphasize the need for a more aggressive approach in combating cyber threats, especially in light of our nation’s recent experience with widespread Internet attacks and disruption. Many private sector experts have urged that the focus on law enforcement and commercial applications, rather than cyber activity, should be more effectively focused on prevention. Others have suggested that there is a technical reason that digital disruption occurs, namely the rapid spread of digital information. Regardless of these arguments, the reality is that digital information and digital communication technology has made vast improvements over the past decade. In fact, there is now more digital information in circulation within organizations and across international boundaries than ever before, and this explosion of information has raised a fundamental question: what is the appropriate rules for digital information systems?
Naturally, there are strong national interests in the security of our nation, and we cannot afford to lose our ability to analyze and respond to those threats. The Internet has become an integral part of virtually every facet of our everyday lives. The advances in digital communications and their associated technologies have given us many capabilities that were previously thought impossible. As networks, computer systems, and digital devices continue to advance at an unprecedented rate, we must take steps to mitigate the inherent dangers and keep these new systems and technologies secure. However, given the pace at which new technologies are advancing, it may be decades before any of these digital systems and technologies are able to be implemented in full and complete fashion.
If we are to address the issues surrounding digital transformation law enforcement officials should consider a few things. First, there are likely to be significant consequences for law enforcement officials who do not take this issue seriously. Without creating systems to thwart digital disruption, these officials may well subject their communities to criminal prosecution. It is not clear how the legal issues will play out, but it is a reasonable speculation that some sort of civil litigation could result. There are likely to be many questions posed to law enforcement officials, including those in charge of digital transformation implementation. There are likely to be political and legal pressures that will force the nation’s top law enforcement officials to perform their obligations under the law.
A second issue that must be addressed is that of open source software. Without such software, there is no way for digital information systems to safely transform from analog to digital data. Digital information is in a state of continuous transformation, and it is likely that such systems cannot remain open without a significant input from those who use them. This means that those who use the transformational systems will be the driving force behind its continued development.
In the end, the nation’s law enforcement leaders must understand that it is absolutely critical that they engage in digital transformation. The advances made in the field of law enforcement have meant that the tools that they need to do their jobs are becoming more reliable. This reliability has made the job of enforcing the law more difficult for law enforcement officers. However, because the government is failing to invest in digital transformation, there is no expectation that the future performance of such equipment will be close to what it should be. Only those police officers who are willing to embrace such a system can hope to make digital information systems work for them.
Those police officers who resist the change and remain stuck in decades old habits may find themselves working in the same environment in which digital information was first introduced to the world. This means that they will be dealing with the same criminals who were, in fact, responsible for the original transformations that took place in this new digital information age. Such a police force may find itself at an advantage over other law enforcement agencies if it was able to incorporate the digital information technologies. However, if the police force balks at even having such a potentially useful tool, then it is doubtful that it can effectively fight crime today.
Those police forces that embrace digital transformation will likely be able to save more money in the long run than their rivals. This is because digital information technology makes the information itself cheaper to transfer and allows for easier analysis. This is a huge benefit that all law enforcement agencies should embrace if they want to see a significant improvement in the efficiency with which they approach their day to day duties. Otherwise, they risk being left behind by their competitors and losing out on the innovations that have been implemented.