ASIC invests $A60M in analytics and e-discovery

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission has announced it is investing around $A60 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.

ASIC, Australia’s corporate, markets and financial services regulator, has extended its partnership with Australian software company Nuix following a competitive tender process. The new contract forms part of ASIC's expanding analytics and e-discovery platforms

'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,' said John Wallace, ASIC's Chief Data Officer.

'The investments we are making are enabling us to more effectively perform in-depth analysis of data, identify relationships between persons and entities, and create chronologies revealed by metadata.'

In 2012, ASSIC signed a three-year agreement with Nuix to supply eDiscovery and digital investigation software. ASIC selected Nuix software to search Microsoft SharePoint databases and email archives such as Symantec Enterprise Vault and EMC EmailXtender. These capabilities supplemented the data types ASIC already investigated using Nuix, including Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Notes email systems and forensic images.

ASIC also uses Nuix's optical character recognition capabilities for faxes and paper documents to improve turnaround times in its investigations.

Speaking at the Annual ASIC Forum in March 2017, Greg Medcraft, Chairman of ASIC said, “We are tailoring machine learning software for use in investigations, which allows visualisation pattern matching across our evidence database, using algorithms for both structured and unstructured data. It allows us to visually map relationships of persons and entities and create time chronologies.

“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.

“On skills, we are recruiting to build our specialist data analytic capabilities, as well as expanding our behavioural insights team.

“We are also looking to the future and the potential for using AI, as well as creating data labs that will give us – and potentially regtech entrepreneurs – access to datasets, opensource tools and an environment to test new technologies.

“On systems and processes, we are improving how we capture, share and use data by developing a data repository and using Microsoft Dynamic CRM. This allows us to use a variety of data sets, including third party data sets, and create a consolidated workflow system across the whole of ASIC,” said Mr Medcraft.