As Chief Technology Officer of the Serious Fraud Office, Ben Denison has the job of taming one of the legendary data beasts. For the number of documents in each high-profile legal case taken on by the SFO can easily run into the tens of millions. One ongoing case has already accumulated some 40 million documents, which is about four times as many as the Panama Papers – the biggest data leak in history.
The SFO's data universe is in a state of massive expansion, and has been for years. By the end of 2017 the digital forensic team was generating four times as much data a month as it was at the start of the year. Denison's function has implemented a range of initiatives to support this exponential data growth in the medium to long term, and ensure a more targeted approach to investigations can be taken in the future.
His team has continued to refine a robot to help identify and handle large amounts of privileged material. And they have been configuring and testing a new e-discovery platform for reviewing evidence, which will expand the organisation's use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to identify relevant material at a much faster rate than through search terms alone. In legal cases that span years and involve tens of millions of documents, the potential savings are substantial. The blindingly obvious advantage of his new systems also means a refreshingly complete absence of resistance to change across the organisation.