Due to the recent terrorist threats and attacks as well as the global security challenges, the European Union needs to get a better understanding of terrorism, terrorism networks and recruitment pathways. Only by combining profound scientific knowledge with practical approaches and technological solutions, societies have the chance to fight terrorism.
At the same time, organized crime incidents increased substantially and new forms emerged due to technological developments such as Crime as a Service. Hence, we also have to increase our insights and improve our capabilities for fighting and preventing organized crime (OC) and its drivers. At the same time, we also need to respect ethical issues and privacy. SYNYO has both experience and expertise on these issues, with a particular focus on cyber-related topics as well as on respective ethical questions.
In this context, also the infiltration of the legitimate economy by organised crime is a major challenge not only for the European Union but on a global level as well. The opportunities for criminal activities increase because of the economic globalization and the de-regulation of movement of goods or capital in the global “space of flows”. Furthermore, the capabilities of law enforcement agencies are limited due to responsibilities based on national borders, difficulties regarding cooperation and divergent jurisdictions. This paradox opens the path for new and different methods for groups involved in OC to infiltrate the licit economy.
Deviant and criminal behaviour has an essential influence on the security of a society. Research on causes and effects of crime is of utmost importance for the development of countermeasures. New technologies such as social media always imply new forms of criminal actions but also new opportunities of crime prevention.
Being a complex theme, safety and security research also needs to take further issues, such as natural disasters, major events, protest movements, emergencies, and the protection of the citizens from potential terrorist attacks or petty crimes. At SYNYO, security research combines both, the social science research and the technological analysis or assessment of technological approaches.
Violent Radicalisation, Terrorism and Organized Crime
As part of the projects in the safety and security domain, SYNYO is implementing and coordinating research in the field or violent radicalisation and terrorism. The research aims at providing new insights and strategies for first-line-practitioners and law enforcement agencies ´for countering radicalisation and terrorism. Furthermore, SYNYO is also working on organized crime related research. Against the background of the Europol’s SOCTA, SYNYO is working on the organized crime priority areas with a particular focus on money laundering.
Empirical Security Research
The empirical research includes quantitative surveys among particular stakeholder groups on a national or European context as well as multivariate primary or secondary data analysis. Furthermore, it also includes qualitative approaches such as expert interviews, semi-structured interviews, focus groups and multi-stakeholder joint-evaluations as well as foresight scenario development.
Security Service Platforms
The team at SYNYO specializes in the design and implementation of user-friendly platforms for diverse user groups involved in prevention, protection and responding to crime and terrorism. The platforms include expert navigators, decision support tools, incidents mappings and social media analysis instruments as well as unique visualizations of data and services for different users, including law enforcement agencies.
Despite the opportunities, critical infrastructures and digital services are vulnerable. This can have significant consequences on the functioning of society, economic growth and the technological innovation potential of Europe. Digital security is a core field of SYNYO, where we can not only bring in knowledge on the technical aspects but combining it with social science expertise and research experience for developing tailored solutions.
Internet of Things
The Internet of Things and in particular smart home solutions pose a serious security threat to private homes. SYNYO analyses technological smart home solutions to identify and visualize potential threat scenarios for consumers. Together with expert partners, criminal law framework conditions are analysed in terms of security and privacy. Scenarios are prioritized and recommendations for future use of smart home devices and possible legal changes are integrated in an overall strategy for law enforcement agencies.
Conflict and Dispute Resolution
SYNYO contributes to social conflict resolution by constructing theoretical frameworks and technological solutions of conflict resolution, conflict transformation and peacebuilding, Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) including mediation and Online Dispute Resolution (ODR), especially in the realm of social media, where people discuss issues of debate and decide to take action.
Ethical and Privacy Assessment
Using a unique combination of tools and technologies, we design specific solutions that address privacy, security and transparency in all phases of product development and implementation. Drawing on legal texts, past experiences, anonymization techniques, social and technological forecasting and social science experiments, we develop socio-technical strategies that help technological solutions incorporate human rights and ethical concerns.
Demonstration Activities and Pilots
In order to ensure wide uptake of the innovative products for the next generation of secure societies and cities, SYNYO connects providers and users to test and validate new services efficiently. To increase the overall quality of services we provide essential knowhow on piloting plans and respective techniques and tools in order to integrate real-life experiences into projects.
Network of Security Organisations
SYNYO is well connected to leading security authorities such as LEA’s and as well as many non-governmental organisations that are dealing with safety and security.