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The spin-off Plus Ethics of the PCUMH participates in a European project to curb the concealment of digital information linked to crime

Steganography is used to hide incriminating data in innocent-looking digital media files such as images, videos, audios and text files. With the aim of making it easier for European security agencies (LEA) to detect these files, the spin-off Plus Ethics of the Science Park of the Miguel Hernández University (PCUMH) of Elche is participating in an international programme, coordinated by the Royal Military Academy of Belgium. Specifically, this spin-off will be responsible for monitoring the ethical and legal aspects of the project.

This initiative, called UNCOVER, is funded with seven million euros, was launched on 1 May and will last for three years. The project will involve, in addition to the PCUMH spin-off, several European security agencies, forensic and research institutes, as well as industrial companies, among others. Through steganalysis, a discipline aimed at detecting hidden messages, these actors will work together to improve the ability of LEAs to locate and intercept this type of data.

To achieve their goal, UNCOVER participants will, among other actions, improve existing methods for conducting steganalysis operations on digital media and work to make the results admissible in European courts. They will also analyse the needs and requirements of LEAs to detect and investigate steganography, consolidate the relevant information and centralise it in an intuitive database for Law Enforcement Agencies. Once these tasks have been carried out, this consortium of 22 partners, including Plus Ethics, will validate and disseminate the project results and prepare an exploitation plan.

The spin-off Plus Ethics is promoted by the director of Crímina, the UMH research centre for the study and prevention of crime, Fernando Miró; and by the researcher and professor of the Crímina Centre Francisco Javier Castro, executive director of the spin-off. Plus Ethics provides legal and ethical advice in the field of public policies and initiatives, as well as for the development of R&D projects related to ICT.