The Hansken data-analysis platform is an increasingly important tool in dealing with case investigations. It enables an innovative approach to the investigation process, specifically when investigating digital data. This means that it is very important to constantly consider any necessary future developments, and to do so without fail. This is exactly what went on during the third Hansken Community Days, which took place on 6, 7 and 8 July.

Always be ready for the future

The three-day programme was a varied one. The aim was to review current developments concerning Hansken together, such as the way of working within the Hansken Community, deep learning possibilities in the platform and new international activities. In a new programme event, the Hansken development teams presented their current plans to the rest of the community. With nearly 100 participants from 10 different countries, hailing from a wide variety of organisational backgrounds, the Hansken Community Days yet again proved very popular.

Hansken continues to grow smarter

Constant development ensures that the capabilities of Hansken's features continue to grow. Edwin Rijgersberg, Forensic Data Scientist at the NFI, updated the community members on the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in Hansken. The platform already includes AI, but this is mainly restricted to specific tasks, such as recognising photographs of shipping containers. Due to new developments, such as 'deep learning', the platform is functioning increasingly like Google Image Search; the system is learning to link images to words, making it possible to search through the ever-growing number of images in research much faster and to do so in smarter fashion.

A very own 'Hansken Academy'

Thousands of investigators are now working with Hansken and many more will be joining them in the future. To teach all these users how to conduct research with Hansken, a curriculum for training courses is in full development, each with its own set of clear learning objectives. During the Hansken Community Days, Hans Henseler, Digital Forensics senior advisor at the NFI, gave a glimpse of how this is being organised. ‘We plan to outsource the curriculum development, maintenance and delivery to an expert market party under the direction of the Hansken Academy. We also want to install an education committee to monitor the curriculum quality and its necessary renewal’, Henseler said. ‘The Hansken Academy will also provide a central Hansken Practice Environment that allows trainees to practice with fictitious digital data, both during and after training.’

Developments within the Digital Forensics professional field

In order to ensure that the new generation of detectives is included in this method of working, the Community also considered its partnership with the University of Applied Sciences Leiden, where a Hansken system was recently installed in the forensic lab used by the Forensic ICT students. ‘We see that the interest in the field of Digital Forensics continues to grow', said Peter van der Wijden during the Hansken Community Days. Van der Wijden is a lecturer and researcher at the Digital Forensics & E-Discovery professorship. This increase is not just due to the number of full-time students, but also because a dual variant will be starting in September, which will allow digital experts to combine their work with the study programme. ‘Due to its open nature, Hansken lends itself very well to teaching digital forensics principles. We can have students research new techniques in Hansken using scripts and extraction plug-ins.’

Together with the practical knowledge from daily criminal investigation as well as new scientific insights, the Hansken Community is constantly making Hansken yet another step smarter.