Thursday, 23rd January 2020

Helping French armed forces to protect national security

The Gendarmerie Nationale, a branch of the French Armed Forces that is tasked with ensuring the peace and safety of French citizens and protecting their property, uses Talend to ensure that all inter-application data exchanges in its interface and referential data system. With Talend, the Gendarmerie Nationale integrates data from hundreds of applications and dozens of files into a single system for automatic and simultaneous analysis in real-time.

France’s Ministry of the Interior tasked the Gendarmerie Nationale to further strengthen the automated processing of personal data in the context of the fight against terrorism. The agency wanted to create a solution to cross-reference security information that had previously been stored in independent files.

Called ACCReD (Automation of Centralized Consultation of Data Information), this police system allows the automatic and simultaneous analysis of files, in particular, those of wanted persons; people categorized under the S card (individuals considered threats to national security); and government investigations related to public security, such as the monitoring of authorizations to access nuclear or vitally important facilities.
"Our initial difficulty was that all our databases were independent. To access the information, it was necessary to consult them one by one and sometimes to type the same last and first name 4 to 5 times to access the information, which took an infinite amount of time," said Commander Christophe Tedesco, Section Chief at the Technology Department and Homeland Security Information Systems (STSISI) of the Gendarmerie Nationale. "We have therefore set up an interface and referential system and ensure inter-application exchanges using Talend Data Fabric. Talend has become the conductor of all exchanges between our security files and a critical element of our information system. Today, there is not a single application of the Gendarmerie and the Police that does not consume or produce data without going through Talend.”
Today, the system can analyze more than one million identities screened per month compared to 300,000 requests per year at the beginning of the project. This growth is due to the fact that ACCReD has opened up to companies (public transport operator, transporter, nuclear, etc.) who must ensure that their employees are not at risk. Police officer mobility applications also benefit from the system. Today, during a roadside check, an agent enters an identity and/or a license plate and chooses the verifications to be made. A synthesis usually takes 8 to 10 seconds. It is exactly the same principle that allows automated border controls at French airports between 1 and 20 seconds. The Border Police application consults, again via the system powered by Talend, the file of wanted persons in real-time.

This automated access of all security data is highly sensitive. On the recommendations of the French data protection authority, a short list of authorized users has been established by the government to access the intelligence banks. Every night, Talend builds, from various data sources, an HR pivot repository that takes into account elements such as transfers or changes of assignments, allowing consultation to be restricted to authorized persons only. Ultimately, a person rather than the system decides who is qualified to access the data. And the overall results are subject to the approval of the Officers of the Judicial Police (OPJ).

“We have been working with Talend for more than a decade on our internal applications. Talend has a dynamic attitude and a genuine willingness to move the product forward,” commented Tedesco. “The company is continually keeping pace with technology developments. When we migrated to SAP HANA, we only needed to change the Talend connector. It was available, practical, and easy to use.”

"In critical situations, it is crucial that the Gendarmerie Nationale, but also the Police and Justice authorities, are able to base their investigations on reliable data that is accessible in real time," said Ciaran Dynes, Senior Vice President of Products at Talend. "We are extremely proud to be able to contribute and innovate in the interest of public safety.”

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