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VIGILANT: Vital IntelliGence to Investigate ILlegAl DisiNformaTion

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At a time of cloud computing and cyber-physical systems like computer-assisted driving, software complexity is growing faster than the rate of improvement in related quality assurance techniques. The ERC-funded VAMOS project will develop monitoring software to identify potential vulnerabilities, errors, and unfair decisions at runtime. Specifically, the project will develop a quantitative resource and approximation theory for software monitoring which allows cost-precision trade-offs. For instance, its monitors will be able to track the safety of systems as well as the fairness of algorithms, security policies, and statistical properties of software. Particular focus will be on the automated monitoring of software that is difficult to verify, such as computations performed by neural networks.

VIGILANT is a Horizon Europe project aimed at application of data collection and AI-based web content analysis methods to support police authorities in investigations of disinformation-related crime.

Identifying, tracking and investigating online disinformation and other problematic content is an extremely complex problem. Many (European) Police Authorities (PAs) do not have access to any specialised tools or technologies to help them combat disinformation

Some of the better equipped PAs are using unsuitable off-the-shelf products that were designed to enable commercial companies to monitor social media chatter about their brands and products or to track the success of advertising campaigns. Such products are not capable of dealing with the complexities of disinformation nor do they provide advanced analysis tools and technologies tailored to the PAs needs. 

The VIGILANT project solves this problem. It is an integrated platform of advanced disinformation identification and analysis tools and technologies employing state-of-the-art AI methods which were developed as part of several highly successful FP7 and H2020 projects, as well ongoing Horizon Europe projects. VIGILANT covers disinformation from all major sources (e.g., major social media platforms, fake news websites), in all formats (text, image, video) and in multiple languages. It is also suitable for investigating hate speech, violent nationalist or separatist movements, radicalisation, extremist groups, incels, lone wolfs, and other counter terrorism threats. The project also provides innovative solutions to leverage the knowledge and experience of other stakeholder organisations and (social) media companies. 

Finally, the project includes training for PAs in the use of VIGILANT and in conducting disinformation investigations as part of a long term sustainable training network.

The interdisciplinary consortium includes expertise from social sciences and humanities, ethics, computer science commercial and five European PAs.

VIGILANT’s overall objective is to provide a comprehensive framework and methodology that: 

1) integrates the latest developments in tools tailored to analyse, detect, mitigate and prevent disinformation with implications for security, guided by ethical and social aspects; 

2) implements best practices in data acquisition, processing and storage, compliant with GDPR and the legal requirements for police investigations and; 

3) equips Officers with training and knowledge about disinformation campaigns and the appropriate actions for dealing with them.

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