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Project „Automated analysis of the economic and political state of CIS and Eastern Partnership countries based on open access sources”, ECOPOL

Project „Automated analysis of the economic and political state of CIS and Eastern Partnership countries based on open access sources”, ECOPOL

Since 1st September of 2015 an implementation of the project „Automated analysis of the economic and political state of CIS and Eastern Partnership countries based on open access sources”, ECOPOL (hereinafter – the project) has started. The project is based on the Agreement with Lithuanian Science Council signed on 26 August of 2015 (Agreement No REP-9/2015).

The Project is implementing by Vytautas Magnus University with the project partners – Mykolas Romeris University and public institution „Lithuanian Cybercrime Center of Excellence for Training, Research and Education“ (hereinafter – L3CE). The end-user of the project results – the State Security Department of the Republic of Lithuania.

The project will last for 12 months. The budget of the project – 69.786,00 euro.

Geopolitically, Lithuania has a number of substantial geopolitical dependencies with respect to CIS and EU Partnership Countries. Success of economic and political partnership as well as the development of national market is highly dependent on the assessment of and timely adaptation to economic and political changes in those partner countries.

To a large extent, information needed for that kind of assessment and continuous monitoring of the state of affairs in the partner countries, is available on the Internet from open access sources. The accelerated growth of ICT and its computational capabilities render more and more analytical tasks ineffective or even impossible if performed by human agents manually.

Specifically:

The volume of available information is growing exponentially, resulting in overly high volume of information to be associated with any particular group of users;
information is often published in non‐normative language;
an official information can often be supplemented by valuable comments, discussions, and opinion forums, which can be found in the same or different than the original sources.

In order to tackle with the information monitoring and assessment problems, automated analysis of information from open access sources can be performed using ICT tools.

The aim of the project is to develop a conceptual model for automated analysis of public cyberspace seeking to identify and systematise the information about phenomena and events in the cyberspace.

Seeking to achieve the aim of the project the following objectives are set up:

The analysis and selection of relevant electronic sources in public cyberspace of Lithuania, CIS and EU Partner will be carried out.

To develop a model for scanning of information sources, including regular news and social comments in Lithuanian and in languages of CIS and Eastern partnership (prototype realised in Lithuanian and Russian languages with the ability to expand in other languages).

With the assistance of experts-analysts and using automated tools for collected information analysis, the conceptual models of representation of events and phenomena in cyberspace, that are specific for democracy models, are drawn up and the definition of the relevant ontology structure is developed. At development of models the information about news presentation ways, time, frequency and interfaces with named as entities is reflected (individuals, geographical areas).

The analytic model based on information, social, communication and psychology theories and on information dissemination model will be developed and will analyse two prospective:

from open-access data sources collected information is the image of the ongoing events and dominant opinions in the real space;
open access information sources are used as a tool for manipulation of opinions.

The developed models will be tested for identification of events and phenomena via analysing of information that is collected from various cyberspace sources  (multiple events prototype).

This project will:

evaluate computer linguistics tools and technologies available for open access data analysis;
assess the variety of methods for data gathering and analysis in order to choose the most suitable ones;
identify and analyse the current sources of economic and political information on selected foreign countries;
develop ontology for identification of sources promoting informational freedom or those suppressing free speech and/or democratic principles;
develop conceptual model for automated information assessment tool.

The Project will be implemented in two stages:

I stage.

Selection of sources, development of analytical tools, expert analysis of information and development of general structure for conceptual model:

Analysis of Lithuania, CIS and EU cyberspace seeking to select sources for automated information collection.
Development of tools prototypes for automated information collection and analysis.
Expert analysis of information on the key events and phenomena, highlighting the most important features and relationships that relevant at conceptual model development
Setting up the structure of ontology on event / phenomena.

I stage shall be completed up to 31 August of 2016.

II stage.

Automated collection of information (identified a set of sources in Lithuanian and Russian languages).
Analysis of collected information (highlighting the characterised a subset, clarifying events/ phenomena conceptual models, feature sets, completing the ontology. Experts and computerised activities. Piloting with 2-3 extraordinary events.
Testing of developed conceptual model and prototypes of analytical tools for automated identification of presenting profile of selected events in the scanned documents of public cyberspace.
Correction of conceptual model according to the testing data and summarising for a wider set of events/ phenomena and for other languages.
Development of proposals for road-map on conceptual model realisation.

Expected project results:

Report on analysis of emotional background of articles published on Lithuanian and the Eastern Partnership countries online media portals according to the authors, publications topics and country.
Report on analysis of articles containing multilateral dimension and published on Lithuanian and the Eastern Partnership countries online media portals – seeking to identify a correlation among country, topic and emotions.
Summary report on automated analytical tools for countries internal and external online media and best practices.
Description of conceptual model for automated analysis of open online media sources according to the economic and political dimensions.
Prototypes of tools for automated collection of information and for automated analysis.
Testing results for 2-3 selected events.
Practical recommendations for road-map on implementation of the system for automated cyberspace analysis.
2 articles in referring editions.

L3CE relevance in the project:

L3CE is performing and coordinating interdisciplinary researches in cybercrime, developing training programmes – basic and for advanced groups that are involved into cybercrime investigation.

L3CE joins the competences of academia, public sector and industry in Lithuania and internationally, is actively participating in development of new forensics tools, IT solution for information analysis in open data sources. The experts of L3CE participate in activity of European Commission Training and Education Group ( E.C.T.E.G) which in close cooperation with an international network of cyber security excellence – 2Centre – is setting up EU policy in fighting cybercrime.

Deep knowledge in cybercrime of L3CE experts will contribute to achievement of the project objectives, especially to the analysis of information propaganda channels, level of manipulating, general emotional field and to assessment of the best practices in this area.

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