Officer Google? How Technology is Impacting Law Enforcement


Many of us are familiar with the concept of Dr Google, and now it would seem that Officer Google isn’t too far away, with the tech giant branching out into the research and development of new technologies with law enforcement capabilities.

These include bomb-sniffing robots, Google Glass for traffic cops, and Google maps to track illegal fishing activity.

Not content with its total domination of the internet, it would seem that Google is now keen to extend its reach into offline areas of our lives.

Anyone thinking about committing a criminal offence should beware – Google is watching us all!

And will soon to be smelling us too!

Here are some of the most recent law enforcement initiatives thought up by Google and its partners.

Google Glass for traffic police

Traffic cops in Dubai are the first in the world to start using Google Glass for their everyday law enforcement activities.

The wearable headsets were released last year, and have so far not lived up to the hype surrounding their benefits for consumers, but it would seem they do have a use when it comes to scanning car number plates and issuing speeding tickets.

The traffic police use the hands-free Google Glass headsets, which are equipped with cameras, to record information and send it directly through to the operations room via a live feed.

They can also use it to scan vehicle number plates and get instant access to all the police records for that particular car.

This means they can detect stolen vehicles instantly instead of having to wait and look up the details on their computer or via the operations room.

For any budding vigilantes there is also a Google Glass App that allows Google Glass-wearing members of the public to record and submit traffic violations themselves.

Google maps to target illegal fishing

Google recently announced its partnership with two conservation groups to help reduce illegal fishing activity around the world.

Global Fishing Watch was revealed earlier this month, and it aims to tackle the problem of illegal overfishing which is affecting ocean ecosystems and threatening a number of species of fish.

The new service will use satellite data to track the activity of fishing vessels and show their movements on an illuminated map.

The idea behind it is to let local authorities know when and where illicit fishing is taking place, so they can take further action.

Currently it is difficult for marine authorities to police illegal fishing, as most protected areas are extremely large and offshore.

The preliminary data gathered from work done so far has apparently revealed seasonal patterns in illegal fishing activities, which could help authorities target the right areas at the right time.

The partnership, which claims it is only going to be tracking the movements of fishing vessels and won’t impinge on our privacy at all, is working on a public tool, which can make data on fishing activities available for everyone in the future.

Bomb sniffing nano-drones

With new developments in nano-technology being spearheaded by Google’s research and development division, it looks like police dogs may be out of a job in the not so distant future.

The development of tools that replicate a dog’s sense of smell would potentially save the police force hundreds of thousands of dollars each year, and act as an effective way to detect gas, bombs and drugs.

So far, the sense of smell has been largely unexplored in technology, although sight, touch and hearing have been widely used for years.

Tiny robot drones known as nano-bots are now in the process of being developed.

These robots are able to “sniff” the molecules in the air and detect the presence of certain substances like gas, explosives and illicit drugs.

A university in the US is currently working on creating a hand-held device that could be sold commercially and used by police officers and the US military within the space of a year.

The drones could also potentially go into disaster areas to search for survivors and make sure the area is safe before rescue workers head in.

With technology playing a bigger part in all our lives, it looks like we’re going to be seeing a lot of changes, both online and offline, in the future.

With companies like Google at the forefront of the latest research and development, it seems that big brother really will be watching (and sniffing) us before very long.


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About Ugur Nedim

Ugur Nedim is an Accredited Specialist Criminal Lawyer and Principal at Sydney Criminal Lawyers, Sydney's leading firm of criminal and traffic defence lawyers.
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