Governments historically have not been quick, nor consistently bold, when it comes to innovation. We know that’s driven by a variety of factors – bureaucracy, constrained budgets, training requirements associated with complexity, and a general resistance to change due to comfort with sticking with the status quo. 

And while we’ve seen significant digital advancement over the last few decades, in the words of Deloitte, while governments have made progress, they “became wired but not transformed. Too many still focused mostly on digitizing front-end services while postponing the tougher issues of fundamentally reengineering underlying government operations, processes, and systems.”

Fraud and risk challenges in government and security today

This is especially evident when we look at the challenges government and security organizations are fraught with, like vetting and clearances for immigration and asylum, and the onboarding of individuals within government and related agencies – essentially, the large-scale human problems where there’s an element of fraud or risk.

  • Scale: Since security involves humans, the main challenge is the sheer number and volume of people involved in various security-related processes, whether it’s managing immigration and asylum, conducting security clearances for employees, or screening and vetting individuals to ensure they’re qualified and trustworthy.
  • Speed: Simply put, there’s crushing demand to solve problems fast. We’re well aware that one of the thorniest issues in security is not processing clearances fast enough. With organizations needing to fill critical positions quickly, today that process can’t be consistently expedited without sacrificing thoroughness, accuracy, and a satisfactory level of risk assessment coupled with intelligent risk mitigation or risk tolerance. The demand for clearances also outstrips organizational capacity to process them, resulting in backlogs and delays that further exacerbate the challenge of time. It’s a constant balance between the need for speed with the need for security. 
  • Ethics: There are still too many variables in processes today that can lead to unethical practices, whether that’s discrimination, conscious or unconscious bias, inadequate privacy protections, lack of transparency, or human rights abuses. More consistency and standardization can lead to more reliable and objective results. 
  • Data: With screening, vetting, and clearances we see a lack of data, particularly if an individual has lived or worked in a foreign country. On the individual level, fewer data points means a less comprehensive picture of an individual’s background and potential risks. On a macro level, without the capacity to process and analyze large amounts of data quickly, organizations can’t quickly identify patterns and trends, make informed decisions or respond effectively.

With Clearspeed, we’re providing a path for organizations to assess security risk quickly and accurately. Our voice analytics technology provides objective and unbiased risk alerts during the process of screening, vetting, and addressing potential risk blind spots – with greater than 97% accuracy (as assessed by US SOCOM). Simply put, Clearspeed helps organizations more quickly process and clear people at scale. And our technology can be used anywhere in the vetting process, whether in initial, continuous, or post-event risk assessments.

Using voice analytics to detect risk indicators in government and security organizations  

Here are some critical Clearspeed use cases for government and security organizations.

Screening and vetting individuals for security risk

One of the biggest challenges in screening and vetting individuals, due to the sheer scale and speed required, is fundamentally inadequate design. Particularly if individuals have lived or worked in foreign countries, there’s a lack of data available to create a complete picture of a person’s background, not to mention situations where references may have questionable legitimacy. Add to this the biases and assumptions that result from a lack of consistent and repeatable screening processes, which can lead to critical blindspots.

Clearspeed covers this critical gap so that organizations can make better decisions faster, identify high-risk behavior, have more accurate risk data, and identify risks before they become threats. 

As one key example, we validated our technology through our work with the United States Special Operations Command (SOCOM). Clearspeed was chosen to screen Afghan recruits to train and expand the country’s defense capabilities, without jeopardizing U.S. personnel. We were able to screen 715 recruits in under 20 hours, in both Dari and Pashto local languages, to identify the potential for risk with >97% accuracy.

Read more: SOCOM screens Afghan recruits using Clearspeed

Insider threat and theft identification

Insider threat leads to significant impact and cost on a business, in addition to massive downtime and disruption.  According to the 2022 Costs of insider Threats Global Report, which is based on interviews with IT and IT security practitioners in 278 organizations that experienced one or more material events caused by an insider, 26% of incidents over a 12-month period were caused by malicious insiders. That translates to a $4.1M annualized cost to remediate the incidents. And only 12% of the incidents were contained in less than 30 days – it took an average of 85 days to contain the incidents.

When the largest energy company in the Philippines was experiencing an insider theft problem due to an individual or group of individuals siphoning off large amounts of the company’s petroleum products, the company selected Clearspeed to screen existing employees at the suspected facility. The problem was costing the company millions of dollars a year, while the theft continued because the company had difficulty identifying the bad actors. The company used Clearspeed’s questionnaire results as an additional data source in its initial and on-going insider theft vetting processes. Clearspeed screened 40 employees, and results for the entire group were available 48 hours after the last questionnaire was completed. Of the 40 employees, 23 (more than half) were identified as high risk – one of whom confessed as the ring leader when confronted with their questionnaire results. After five years in operation and an estimated $8 million in losses, the insider theft ring was broken in less than 24 hours.

Read more: Philippines energy company addresses insider theft with Clearspeed

Independent investigations: Sports integrity

Over the past decade, increased coverage and scrutiny around allegations of match-fixing, bout manipulation, and bribery have highlighted the deep-rooted challenges of maintaining integrity in sports. The seeming impunity of high-ranking officials, coupled with lack of governance and standards and an environment of fear and retaliation continue to enable corruption and manipulation as roadblocks to change. Add to this the tremendous economic and societal costs. 

In fact, in its final report about the independent investigation of the International Boxing Association (AIBA) following the 2016 Rio Summer Olympic Games, the McLaren Independent Investigation Team (or MIIT, a group of associates from McLaren Global Sport Solutions and Harod Associates) said of the AIBA’s destabilization that there was “…inconsistent application of rules, no appetite to investigate the organizations or individual complaints, and ineffective disciplinary process without the force of sanctions.”

The UK-based investigations firm Harod first used Clearspeed as part of a multi-prong MIIT investigation of the AIBA World Boxing Championships in Serbia in late 2021. As part of vetting R&Js (referees and judges) and ITOs (technical officers), the Clearspeed questionnaire included questions about individuals’ knowledge of corruption and manipulation events and their participation in such events. Following the results, the investigations team was able to focus on individuals flagged in the high-risk category with additional evaluation and follow up. This, further bolstered by anecdotal evidence that supported the individuals being flagged as high-risk, led to the recommended removal of several judges.

Harod has consistently used Clearspeed since then, and in a variety of other sports, to validate high risk results in independent investigations. Harod and Clearspeed’s collaboration also extends beyond sports integrity to broader issues like asylum and immigration, vetting, and clearances in the national security space.

Embracing technology innovation to address today’s legacy organizational challenges at scale

As governments and security agencies continue to deal with new and existing complexity, there’s tremendous potential for innovation. Technology can help address the significant challenges these agencies face, overcoming outdated and legacy structures and models to positively impact the lives of the citizens they serve.

Embracing and implementing new technology as a means for innovation doesn’t mean simply using tech for tech’s sake, or compromising standards. Deep examination and due diligence is required, and a critical step in that process is to validate new technologies under the most rigorous of circumstances. 

Ensuring safety and security is only part of the equation. Fundamentally, today’s governments and security organizations really have a duty to embrace technology in order to alleviate humanitarian challenges while also striving to build trust and ensure compliance at all levels. 

Learn more about how Clearspeed provides risk insights to bolster confidence in security decisions, and see how our Clearspeed Protect solution works.