13 October 2019

New research will investigate how to share financial information and disrupt crime while preserving privacy

We are living in the age of big data. Information is everywhere. The analysis of that information helps to better understand our customers based on user behaviour. Data analytics and information sharing also help financial institutions detect and prevent crime. One of the biggest hurdles, however, is data privacy, which often prevent institutions from sharing their data.

Earlier this year the SWIFT Institute published two new research papers looking at the challenges and benefits of information sharing.

The barriers to information sharing

The first paper attempted to pilot the exchange of insider threat reports between financial institutions. The pilot concluded with a number of findings on challenges to information sharing that, until resolved, prevent firms from formalising engagement in this area.  While there were some legal hurdles around sharing information, the most significant findings related to data access and technical issues; cultural constraints for sharing data internally; inconsistencies between financial institutions around data collection; and a lack of a universal call to action for sharing insider threat activity.

Piloting the Exchange of Insider Threat Reports: Information Sharing Challenges to Proactive Cyber Fraud Identification

  • Casey Evans (Kogod School of Business, American University)
  • Elizabeth Petrie (Citibank)

A partnership approach

The second paper examined whether a partnership comprising public and private sector organisations (PPP) can improve information sharing and be effective in combating finance-related crimes. Based on a case study of Australia’s Fintel Alliance, the research identified the challenges of implementing a PPP as being legislative, technical and data-driven, and depends on the involved parties’ relationships, trust and risk appetite. It concludes that PPPs can play a critical role in overcoming reticence to sharing information, building trust and expanding knowledge of (and thereby combatting) financial crime.

Public-Private Partnership to Disrupt Financial Crime: an Exploratory Study of Australia’s FINTEL Alliance

  • Paula Chadderton (Centre for Counter-Terrorism Coordination)
  • Simon Norton (Australian Strategic Policy Institutes Strategic Policing and Law Enforcement Program)

Privacy preserving analytics

To build on our previous research, the SWIFT Institute recently issued a grant to support the Future of Financial Intelligence Sharing (FFIS) research programme in a detailed study of use-cases for privacy-preserving analytics within the field of financial information sharing partnerships to disrupt crime. Technological advances that support privacy-preserving analytics may be able to support various forms of financial information sharing without data owners decrypting or divulging underlying data.

Led by Nick Maxwell, Head of the FFIS programme, this study will examine the following areas in relation to privacy preserving analytics:

  • The current and future technical eco-system
  • Financial crime prevention use-cases
  • Adoption challenges

The study will set out recommendations for policymakers and private sector leaders, and be presented at Sibos 2020.

Nick Maxwell (FFIS) and Peter Ware (SWIFT Institute) at Sibos London 2019