Argos – recovering stolen art
Using image recognition to help insurers and law enforcement stop illegal traffic of stolen property.


The French Gendarmerie Nationale


The French “Gendarmerie Nationale” (CNAIP, National Center for Criminal Images Analysis) selects LTU Technologies to fight child pornography. LTU is providing its standard image investigation solution to the CNAIP. LTU’s technology enables CNAIP’s police forces to conduct criminal investigations based on visual clues.

ARGOS – recovery of stolen objects


Formed by an association of French insurance companies, ARGOS monitors valuable items placed for sale in order to spot items that may be stolen property.

The Challenge
Every year thousands of valuables are stolen – many are sold on the black market or by legitimate dealers and disappear forever. As a result large compensations are paid to insured property owners. Traditionally, rigorous investigations involving manual comparison of images were conducted to uncover stolen objects with a low success rate.

The Solution
ARGOS manages the database FIBAR (Fichier Informatique des Biens Assurés Recherchés) that contains images and data about reported stolen objects provided by the insurance company members of ARGOS. These images are compared with images from the web, dealer catalogs and images of items found in investigations by law enforcement such as the French agency OCBC (Office Central de lutte contre le trafic des Biens Culturels). To expedite these image investigations and automate part of the process, ARGOS has applied image recognition from LTU technologies. As a result, ARGOS can now, in just a few seconds, analyze hundreds of thousands of image which is particularly powerful for investigations since with an image there are no language barriers.

The Results
“In barely a few seconds, the system analyses the 16,000 images furnished by our members and compares them every day with the hundreds of thousands of images we capture on the Internet or receive in catalogues or from investigations,” explains Mr. Marsaud, Director General of ARGOS. “One of the major advantages of LTU engine is that we can consider increasing the size of the FIBAR database as well as the number of catalogues to analyze, without needing additional budget or additional human resources.”


Italian Postal and Communications Police

The control over the misuse or illegal use of technologies is the main task carried out by the Police force. For prevention purposes, the Postal and Communications Police has set up a monitoring activity of Internet regarding some phenomena such as pedophilia, religious sects and other organizations of different types which could be involved in criminal conducts or racial hatred.

OCBC – Stolen art recovery


OCBC – uses LTU’s technology to manage the database called “TREIMA” which contains images of art objects stolen in France. Traffic in stolen art objects is one of the largest criminal activities in the world, ranking just after traffic in illegal drugs. More than 60 000 objects are stolen every year in Europe. France created in 1975 a structure to fight this criminal activity: the “Office Central de lutte contre le trafic des Biens Culturels” named O.C.B.C, which centralizes, analyzes and shares information on a national and international level.

Learn more about OCBC

Protection of cultural heritage in Hungary

The Hungarian National Office of Cultural Heritage (Kulturális Örökségvédelmi Hivatal – KÖH) embodies all three professional fields of movable and immovable cultural heritage: historic buildings, archaeology and movable cultural heritage, thus exercising legal authority over the full spectrum of heritage protection. KÖH is the administrative authority in first instance of historic monuments, archaeological sites and movable cultural heritage.

The National Office is responsible for nearly 11 thousand listed historic sites, buildings, conservation areas and historic gardens all over Hungary as well as for more than 100 thousand archaeological sites and 400 movable cultural heritage in private ownership.  For the protection of works of art, KÖH and other official Hungarian agencies use the TREIMA II image database system, which was designed by the French government agency OCBC and developed by LTU technologies.