Project Watchmaker

Identifying and tracking individuals involved in the manufacture or use of explosives.

A global initiative

Project Watchmaker enables our member countries to identify and track known or suspected individuals involved in the manufacture or use of explosives.

This is achieved via working groups that facilitate the exchange of biometric data and document records by identifying and uploading profiles of known and suspected individuals to a dedicated database.

INTERPOL’s Watchmaker dataset contains profiles of over 3,500 people and 38,750 entities associated with chemical, biological and IED activities. It includes individuals responsible for major terrorist bombing incidents around the world.

A regional focus

The data collected by Watchmaker is formed into a catalogue of devices that can be regionalized. Through patterns and trends, it is possible to compare devices in various regions and establish whether we are looking at an individual or group, and if either have been educated using social media.

Obtaining information across regions allows for detailed, analytical reports that can highlight capability gaps, IED trends, component parts and areas of acquisition.

Operationalizing data

Coordinated efforts coming out of Watchmaker working group activities have developed into the operationalization of data in order to support the overt and covert detection of bomb-makers as they cross international borders. This alerts member countries to take appropriate legal action.

This is achieved through operations at major but vulnerable, air, sea and land borders that train local officers in the use of databases and border controls skills. Both permanent and temporary access to databases at such locations, and INTERPOL’s expertise in forensics, specialized training and investigative skills remain key components to this approach.

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