Coast Guard To Nab Hoax Callers With Advance Voice Forensic Technology

Diane Neal As USCG Agent Abigail Borin CGIS
Actress Diane Neal Investigates a Hoax Mayday call in her role as USCG Investigative Service Agent Abigail Borin, in the hit television show NCIS

by PA2 Diana Honings (USCG) Temporary Denial of Service 911 hoax calls plague our nation’s first responder agencies. Hospitals, police and fire departments, and other public service entities are continually vulnerable to bomb threats, active shooter situations, and general false emergency claims.

Similarly, there is a growing hoax call problem on the Channel 16 maritime distress frequency. Regrettably, these perpetrators often go unpunished due to a lack of offshore geo-location capability for Coast Guard and local law enforcement investigators.

As part of a project to better identify, geo-locate and prosecute SAR hoax callers, representatives from the USCG R&D Center and the Coast Guard Investigative Service (CGIS) have partnered with forensic scientists at Carnegie Mellon University. This CMU team specializes in voice forensics and audio analytics, which serves as a critical part of the R&D Center’s plan to tackle the SAR hoax call phenomenon.

The overall project employs enhanced direction-finding equipment, social media monitoring and awareness efforts to find potential hoax callers, but the real crux of the prosecutorial value lies in CMU’s audio forensics capabilities. CMU technology provides voice forensics analysis that can glean several key biometric and environmental “cues” enabling Coast Guard technology agents to identify criminals.

To further deter serial and future SAR hoax callers, the Coast Guard R&D Center has partnered with media representatives from Rutgers University’s Command, Control, and Interoperability Center for Advanced Data Analysis (CCICADA) to publicize the Coast Guard’s approach to identify, geo-locate and prosecute these criminals.

This article was originally posted to USCG Compass by PA2 Diana Honings