QinetiQ’s new online system keeps EU investigations secure and anonymous

05 Mar 2010

QinetiQ’s new Fraud Notification System, a web-based secure system, enables members of the public and EU civil servants to report fraud and corruption securely and anonymously on-line. The system is now live and being operated by the European Anti-Fraud Office, which is responsible for combating corruption and fraud. It allows the office to receive tip-offs and maintain communications during an investigation while completely protecting the anonymity of the informant.

In any type of investigation or enquiry, it is notoriously hard to ensure informants keep their anonymity. Enabling investigators, police, or law enforcers to communicate with anonymous informants to ask further questions or clarifications is difficult and often requires some form of identification by the informant to enable ongoing communication or to maintain contact.

The QinetiQ team in the UK has solved this problem by designing a system which enables a simple and secure means of communication. From the point of entering the website of the European Anti-Fraud Office known as OLAF (Office Européen de Lutte Anti-Fraude), the simple functionality guides a user through the completion of a questionnaire. This is the only information that an OLAF investigator ever sees, even the IP address is masked and cannot be identified. An informant can exit the system after completing the questionnaire and is not required to have any further communication with the OLAF team. However, if they do agree to ongoing communications, a clever encryption system, which is unique to each informant and each OLAF investigator, means that the identity of the informant is protected at all times, wherever, and whenever they use the system.

Pete Baynham, Head of QinetiQ’s Intelligence and Digital Security business commented: “Our experts in cyber security and encryption have made a breakthrough with the Fraud Notification System as we’ve demonstrated that secure online communications, which protect all parties and maintain confidentiality and anonymity, can be achieved. Secure, anonymous communications are particularly important in criminal or legal proceedings and the complex world of fraud and corruption investigations in which OLAF operates. We have designed and delivered a system that our customer can now operate and manage locally, confident that it meets its stringent requirements.”

Working across member states, OLAF liaises with the Serious Fraud Office in the UK, and other law enforcement agencies to investigate alleged fraud and other serious irregularities impacting the EU budget and alleged corruption and other serious misconduct by members or staff of EU institutions.

Since it was established in 1999, OLAF has received more than 7,000 individual allegations resulting in the opening of more than 3,000 cases. Over 300 individuals have received prison sentences from criminal courts as a result of OLAF’s investigations for a combined total of 875 years, of which 208 were suspended.

The European Anti-Fraud Office is known as OLAF (Office Européen de Lutte Anti-Fraude)

QinetiQ's Intelligence and Digital Security business specialises in cyber security and information assurance to help our customers understand threats, manage risk and improve resilience.

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QinetiQ’s new online system keeps EU investigations secure and anonymous