Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Value of Data Fusion

Recently, the PRISM team has been out on the road discussing our services and methods with potential and current clients. During the process, we generated interest in our data FUSION process and the value it adds to investigations. It made us realize our readers (you) could benefit from the same discussion. To simplify the process, we will discuss the value added from each type of data source. Currently, we utilize three main sources: Public Records, Online Content, and Social Media Content.

Public Records

Public records push a research project off in the right direction. With the abundance of personal information available, these records make it possible for you to look up criminal and litigation history, identify physical locations and property information, map out potential networks of family and associates, and vet out current licensures. Together, all of these records combine to build a base for your research. They provide relevant search terms and locations for the rest of your work. However, many public records databases contain outdated, incomplete, and inaccurate information. You still have to look at other sources of information to verify the data and paint a more complete picture of the individual of interest.

Online Content

General online content is a great way to find out how the individual of interest interacts with society at large. News stories can help research a multitude of issues related to an individual. First, they can help you identify any additional criminal or civil litigation information which may have been excluded from public records. Second, news articles provide a wealth of knowledge regarding business operations which can help you set a general context for the individual’s professional life. Finally, local news also tends to spend time giving lip service to those doing work in the community, which can help you identify additional organizations connected to the person of interest. When you combine this data with personal and professional websites, you have additional contextual data that informs you about what the person is involved in on a routine basis. However, this data, even when combined with public records, tells you very little about the actual person you are investigating and still may contain some inaccurate information.

Social Media Content

Social media content’s best value added comes from the data about the person’s personality, interests, and habits. When a person posts a wide array of information about the things they like, do, and consume, it becomes very easy to identify additional places to locate information. Social media profiles also provide a great wealth of connection data that allows you to confirm connections from public records and build out additional social networks. Additionally, you can verify some of the data that was originally identified in both public records and online content. It is imperative this data is fused together with public records and online data during the research process. Without social media, it is nearly impossible to fully understand an individual.


To add reliable, actionable intelligence to your investigation, it is imperative to use a data fusion approach. Without using a comprehensive online research solution, you can be acting upon inaccurate or incomplete information. In order to provide a truly thorough investigative service to your clients, you should implement a data fusion process as a integral part of your operations.

About CES PRISM Blog

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The CES PRISM blog is the place where CES shares the newest developments in social media sites and tools, data analytics, eDiscovery, investigations, and intelligence. We will also share workflow tips and tricks, case studies, and the developmental progress of our open source social media research and analysis tool, PRISM. Our goal is to open a dialogue with the community which allows all of us to learn together.