Interpol plans to use Microsoft's evidence extracting technology
The International Criminal Police Organization, better known as Interpol, says it will distribute Microsoft's Computer Online Forensic Evidence Extractor tool to its 187 member countries under an agreement announced with the Redmond company today. Microsoft says it's providing the "COFEE" tool free of charge.
The technology caused caused a stir about privacy and other issues when it was announced a year ago. Microsoft has given assurances that it's essentially pulling together available tools and not providing law enforcement with secret backdoors into Windows systems. The tools are housed on a USB thumb drive, according to previous reports.
COFEE offers "common digital forensics tools to help officers at the scene of a crime gather volatile evidence of live computer activity that would otherwise be lost in a traditional offline forensic analysis," the company said in this morning's news release.
Microsoft described the arrangement as one step it's taking to develop a broader relationship with Interpol. On a conference call with reporters this morning, Thomas Fuentes of Interpol's executive committee was asked about that relationship and how it's changing.
"The relationship has evolved because so much of modern investigation depends on the ability to get through the technology, and increasingly criminal organizations throughout the world are using advanced technology to operate," Fuentes said. "The partnership with Microsoft is an extremely valuable one, and a great deal of work has gone on ... to be able to take advantage of Microsoft's willingness to make their technology and their research available to the community of nations throughout the world."
He added that Interpol is "extremely proud of the relationship, and the fact that Microsoft is demonstrating their citizenship as an international company."
At the same time, Microsoft announced that it's pooling together some of its existing computer systems for government and law enforcement into a new offering that it's calling its Citizen Safety Architecture, including its Single View and Incident Response platforms.