Homeland Security Investigations and Immigration and Customs Enforcement want to leverage a transnational gang intelligence app developed by a Pennsylvania county district attorney’s office to improve data collection and coordination and connect with the agency’s facial recognition program.
The Gang Intelligence Application was developed by the Office of the District Attorney of Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, through a $1.1 million grant from the Homeland Security Department, according to a report in LehighValleyLive.com. Last year, the county’s Regional Intelligence and Investigations Center and local app developer Computer Aid Inc. released the app after three years of development, the site reported.
Now, ICE officials are looking to take advantage of that resource with a one-year contract for “software development, data analytic support, and cloud migration of a web-based application for use by Homeland Security Investigations to identify, track, disrupt and dismantle transnational gangs,” according to the solicitation.
The app is currently being used to combat gangs operating in Virginia, West Virginia and the Washington, D.C. metro area.
However, while HSI and ICE already have access to the GIA database, “HSI’s use of the GIA is limited by the scope of information that ICE can securely upload, share and control within the GIA,” according to the statement of work.
Specifically, ICE wants to maintain more control over the sensitive data it uploads to the app and better security controls in order to safely enable connecting the GIA interface directly to Homeland Security Department networks. The agency also wants to connect its facial recognition analysis program to the database, which it cannot do currently.
“In order to meet these requirements, ICE requires architectural modification of the GIA including migration to the GovCloud environment to enable secure integration of HSI gang specific data into a secure ICE compartmentalized tool, increased analytical and data support, and facilitation of secure sharing and future interfacing with ICE systems to further its mission to target transnational criminal organizations,” the statement of work reads.
Contract deliverables include migrating to AWS GovCloud and integrating the facial recognition program developed by Noblis, both within 12 months of award.
Ultimately, ICE hopes direct access to the app will help counter-gang efforts in six distinct ways:
- Increasing intelligence gathering in the region which will foster greater communications.
- Documenting known and suspected gang members.
- Providing investigative leads.
- Creating a singular, secure method for quickly accessing and disseminating gang-related information to regional-based law enforcement partners.
- Providing the ability to query multiple agencies’ data sets to provide an accurate assessment and identification of transnational gang trends and patterns.
- Providing the ability to search for people, vehicles, weapons, property and phone numbers across police and prison records to target criminal organizations.
As the developer and owner of the app, Lehigh County is expected to win the contract, “provided a technically acceptable proposal with a fair and reasonable price is submitted,” the solicitation states.
The bid proposal is due by noon on April 3.