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Australian Securities and Investments Commission investing in data analytics and digital investigation capabilities

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) continues to expand its analytics and e-discovery platforms, extending its partnership with Australian software company, Nuix following a competitive tender process. ASIC is Australia’s corporate, markets and financial services regulator.

ASIC is investing around AU$60 million on data analytics, IT systems, as well as its surveillance and enforcement capabilities to be a more data-driven, intelligence-led law enforcement agency. These investments will enable ASIC to more effectively perform in-depth analysis of data, identify relationships between persons and entities, and create chronologies revealed by metadata.

John Wallace, ASIC's Chief Data Officer, said, “A critical part of detecting, understanding and responding to issues is our ability to process large volumes of data and to extract intelligence from the diverse data sources now in use, including phones, tablets, corporate email servers and the cloud.”

Previously, in 2012 ASIC signed a 3-year contract with Nuix for electronic investigation software, enabling ASIC to search Microsoft SharePoint databases and email archives such as Symantec Enterprise Vault and EMC EmailXtender. ASIC was also using uses the vendor’s optical character recognition capabilities for faxes and paper documents to improve turnaround times in its investigations.

ASIC has been working to tailor machine learning software for use in investigations, which allows visualisation pattern matching across its evidence database, using algorithms for both structured and unstructured data.

Speaking at the Annual ASIC Forum in March 2017, Greg Medcraft, Chairman of ASIC said, “E-discovery and Technology Assisted Review using machine learning is now recognised by the courts. There have been recent cases where Australian courts have endorsed the use of machine learning technology to identify the most relevant documents.”

“We are expanding our capabilities in this area, including machine learning from fuzzy logic, and piloting the machine learning functionality of Nuix to make the identification of relevant evidenciary materials more efficient.”

In the same speech, Mr. Medcraft talked about capturing, sharing and using data by developing a data repository and using Microsoft Dynamic CRM, thereby enabling the use of a variety of data sets, including third party data sets, and creating a consolidated workflow system across the whole of ASIC.

He also explained how ASIC’s Market Analysis and Intelligence system uses purpose-built First Derivative flexible algorithms and data analytics to identify suspicious trading. Social media analytics are used to monitor sectoral hotspots and targeted areas of interest in financial services. Machine learning software is being trialled to search the web to identify misleading marketing in a particular sub-sector (e.g. unlicensed accountants and Self Managed Super Funds).

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