Japan police to stamp out online criminal activity with help of AI

Japanese police said Thursday they will introduce artificial intelligence technology to identify social media posts in which people are recruited to commit crimes like robbery and fraud.

Starting Friday, the National Police Agency will use AI to look for posts promising large payments for “yami baito,” an expression implying shadowy illegal work, coupled with wordings that solicit people to conduct other more specific criminal acts such as transporting or receiving money obtained via fraudulent means.

The concept of yami baito grabbed headlines in Japan recently after a group of Japanese men, arrested earlier this year for running scams from the Philippines, was alleged to have recruited individuals via social media to carry out a series of robberies across Japan, with at least one resulting in a murder.

The cyber patrol center, an organization unaffiliated with police, is entrusted to conduct the online surveillance work by the agency.

Using natural language processing technology, the AI will not only look for specific keywords but also identify posts suspected to contain harmful information based on context, the agency said.

For the time being, X, formerly called Twitter, and introduction posts and comments on YouTube videos will be targeted for enhanced surveillance, it said.

The center will report the data it collects to another outside organization, the Internet Hotline Center, which can request website operators and internet service providers delete posts it determines to be illegal or harmful.

In February, the agency expanded the scope of posts it can request surveillance and deletion following the fatal shooting of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in July 2022.

Abe’s alleged killer used information found online to build a homemade gun, leading authorities to attempt to remove such content, as well as addressing the rise of crimes carried out by people recruited online.

The targets of such requests were previously limited to those linked to drug trafficking, child pornography and inducement of suicide, but the seven newly added categories are associated with crimes that could result in a death.

According to the agency, it has requested the deletion of 148 posts between February and June after judging they contain harmful information.

Of those, 77 had been deleted by the end of July, with most linked to attempts to recruit people to commit murder and robbery, the agency said.

By Webdesk

Source KYODO