New Horizon Europe Project to Help European Police Authorities Combat Disinformation Linked to Crime

The VIGILANT project consortium met in Dublin in early November to kick-off their work on equipping PAs with a toolkit to detect and counter crime-related disinformation

Sofia Monday, November 28, 2022

1st of November 2022 marks the beginning of a new 36-month, €4 million Horizon Europe project that will equip European Police Authorities with advanced technologies to detect and analyse disinformation that leads to criminal activities. The VIGILANT project brings together an interdisciplinary consortium of 17 leading European partners from academia, industry, government research centers, and Police Authorities. 

According to Joachim Fassbender of the German Police University, one of VIGILANT’s partners,

“Disinformation poses increasing challenges to police forces and society, especially when it is spread in a coordinated campaign. In times of political, economic and social instability, disinformation is able to discredit state institutions, spread hatred and trigger subgroups of the population to pursue their own political, social or economic objectives in an inadmissible or unlawful way. The result is a destabilisation of society and state order. It is therefore important to detect and analyse disinformation at an early stage and to develop appropriate preventive or prosecutive response options.”

VIGILANT will help Police Authorities detect and analyse disinformation from all major online sources, in all modalities (text, image, video) and in multiple languages. The platform can also help Police Authorities to detect and investigate hate speech, violent nationalist or separatist movements, radicalization and extremist groups, incels, lone wolves, and other terrorism threats.

The VIGILANT consortium gathered in Trinity College Dublin for their launch meeting where they held detailed discussions with the five Police Authorities on requirements and discussed the project’s work packages, key deliverables and technical implementation. 

Speaking at the launch, Dr. Tom Clonan, Irish Senator, security analyst and retired Irish Army Captain said:

“I am delighted to have co-launched the exciting, timely and challenging VIGILANT project. This exemplary European cooperation is an important step towards preserving freedom of speech and expression while striking the delicate balance with disinformation.”

Over the course of the three year project experts from computer science and ethics will ensure that the highest standards of ethics and personal data protections are met throughout the project by following an ethical-by-design approach. 

Leaning on its 20+ years experience in graph databases and semantic technologies, Ontotext’s contribution to the VIGILANT project is in providing secure and reliable data ingestion and storage capabilities, as well as employing a range of semantic, AI and NLP techniques for knowledge engineering and search.


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme under grant agreement No:101073921. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Research Executive Agency. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.

For more information, contact Doug Kimball, Chief Marketing Officer at Ontotext