This hierarchy of cooperation is perhaps not in itself revolutionary, but implementing it in the digital era will need fresh thinking and innovative approaches
Within the individual organisation, the approach to gathering, recording and processing data must be reviewed and refreshed. Once the business has a coherent, consistent, coordinated approach to its data, then the benefits of AI and machine learning can be reaped at a local level.
But action at the business level is only part of the story.
For society to benefit from a coordinated approach to tackling crime, business and law enforcement need to be able to act together, and that relies upon a coordinated approach at the second level built upon a regulatory approach which recognises the new landscape and reflects its new features.
Yet it’s the third level, globalisation, that the biggest step change needs to occur.
Cyberspace does not recognise national borders – but law enforcement must. While criminals may have no regard for the rights of the individual, businesses, regulators and the authorities are bound by the rules of society.
New tensions arise around the right to privacy. National approaches vary, but in many cases the rules put in place to protect residents of one jurisdiction can hinder the efforts of others to combat criminals. Even here, revolutionary technology such as homomorphic encryption can perhaps offer solutions to otherwise intractable issues of policy. But the conclusion of all the senior figures who fed into the report is that international cooperation is essential to an effective approach to tackling economic crime.
The importance of ethics
But there was one other common theme, and that is the human element. Jason Piper, Head of Tax and Business Law at ACCA, summarises: 'Our Economic Crime in a Digital Age report finds that people, processes and governance remain key. Every successful crime starts with individual decisions, whether to deliberately break the rules, or to place trust in information that isn’t trustworthy.
‘And whether it’s in double checking who really sent a payment instruction, or teaching humans how to properly use AI, being sure that the humans in the chain have the right attitudes, the right rules to follow, and the right tools to counter the advances in criminal behaviour are the most important elements to keep the impacts of economic crime to a minimum'.