Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning , Cybercrime , Fraud Management & Cybercrime

AI-Enabled Crimes Are Already Here, UK NCA Chief Says

Graeme Biggar Says We Need to Get AI and Facial Recognition Right
AI-Enabled Crimes Are Already Here, UK NCA Chief Says
Graeme Biggar, director general of the U.K. National Crime Agency, testifies June 19, 2023, before the Joint Committee on National Security Strategy. (Image: U.K. Parliament)

Risks tied to artificial intelligence are imminent and require systemic attention, the head of the British crime agency said Tuesday.

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Speaking at a conference in London on Tuesday, Graeme Biggar, the director general of the U.K.'s National Crime Agency, said threats from artificial intelligence won't occur in a distant future. In fact, he said, cybercriminals are already using the technology to create ransomware and synthetic images.

"It is essential that we have an international response to ensure public safety is built into technology. And so the prime minister's AI Safety Summit is more than welcome," Biggar said during a speech on tackling organized crime." The Conservative government of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is set to hold an AI summit Nov. 1-2 at Bletchley Park. U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris is expected to deliver a speech.

"Facial recognition and AI are the two latest technical developments where we need to continue working and essential that we get right," Biggar added.

Adapting to the fast pace of technology has been a primary challenge for law enforcement, Biggar said, adding that criminals tend to co-opt the latest developments to improve their tactics and scale of operations.

This is evidenced by the criminals' use of encrypted services to advertise their schemes and the heavy use of cryptocurrencies to launder criminal proceeds. "Crime used to be local and one-to-one. It is now also global and one-to-many," Biggar said of the criminals' current scale of operations.

To counter these threats, he said, the government must address loopholes in British statute. This includes amending the country's 33-year-old hacking law, the Computer Misuse Act, which does not currently recognize data theft as an act of crime. Biggar also called on lawmakers to review existing modes of intelligence and evidence sharing for prosecuting overseas criminals (see: UK National Crime Agency Head Calls for Hacking Law Updates).

"The current processes for mutual legal assistance and international letters of request take months and sometimes years," Biggar said. "Government needs to work internationally to find solutions that are adaptable and flexible."

About the Author

Akshaya Asokan

Akshaya Asokan

Senior Correspondent, ISMG

Asokan is a U.K.-based senior correspondent for Information Security Media Group's global news desk. She previously worked with IDG and other publications, reporting on developments in technology, minority rights and education.

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