Insights: Open Source Intelligence

Creepy Data

There’s an excellent article here in the Guardian by Ben Goldacre on our modern digital exhaust. Well worth a read.  You want to know what creepy is? Well it’s this.

Charged with Dispatches

But it’s this particular blogger’s penchant to look into history and derive parallels to modern experience. At the moment I’m looking at how the British Royal Navy undertook intelligence around the period of 1792 -1815, and how they relied upon OSINT.

Open Source Intelligence: What is that again?

Twenty years ago, OSINT meant reading the newspaper. Ten years ago, OSINT meant browsing the web. What does OSINT mean today? Using commercially available tools I can do the following things: Task an individual on the ground to answer a specific question or provide imagery. (See this article for further details – Sites such as MoboQ, or…

Intelligence Failure Part 1

This very good paper  by Adam Moscoe  examines the specifics of the failure to predict the Iranian revolution in the late 1970s. It draws partially on this book, by Robert Jervis. This is the first of a series of posts about “Intelligence failures”. The publication (essentially after declassification) of Robert’ Jervis’ careful study surrounding particular…

Sharks and Rumours of Sharks.

I’ve written here before, briefly about sharks, and written a bit recently about rumours, which has sparked dialogue across the Atlantic with US military colleagues, who I’m grateful to for their thoughts Here’s where sharks and rumours collide. One of the challenges of modern irregular warfare is that rumours can be so distracting of intelligence resources.…

R V Jones and “crowd-sourced” intelligence from WW2

I’m re-reading RV Jones’s description of British technical intelligence activities in WW2 “Most Secret War“, and was reminded of an excellent and innovative use of what perhaps today we would call “crowd-sourced” intelligence.  One of the projects Jones was responsible for was developing technical intelligence of German radar systems.  Some of these systems were relatively…

The Phenomenon of ECHO in the OSINT World

IMSL, perhaps somewhat presumptuously, thinks of itself as an organisation with particular expertise in OSINT. Our Intelligence Laboratory works extensively in developing techniques and processes for sourcing, managing and analyzing OSINT. One of the challenges of OSINT that we are studying carefully is a strange phenomenon called “ECHO”. It’s actually quite an interesting phenomena in its…

UFOs, Hermaphrodites, Airtight Coffins and Men Drowned by Sheep

Panjandrum (below) makes some great points about the large amount of open source data which cannot be easily found with the aid of Mr Google’s eponymous tool.  Too often we encounter people who think that OSINT=Google, which is silly, or OSINT= press reports, which is even sillier.  The erroneous belief that OSINT is some sort…

12