Insights

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.

Sherman’s Geo-Int

Great article in the NYT about the intelligence maps used by General Sherman 150 years ago.

Deception and the Intelligence Analyst

Human nature is essentially to be credulous, and so, therefore intelligence analysts (who are mostly human) will be credulous and see patterns and links if they are told they are there.

The Gunpowder Plot – Terrorism?

Although at the time, and often since, the state naturally chose to portray the cell as terrorists, the plot is better understood as a coup attempt with an asymmetric element than as terrorism.

The Most Interesting Intelligence Story this Week.

Earlier this month four small commercial “off the shelf” UAVs simultaneously overflew four French nuclear reactors, hundreds of miles apart. Three other UAVs were spotted at different times over other nuclear sites. And no-one knows who did it.

Eating codes for dinner – SIGINT in the age of Semaphore

But between about 1794 and about 1846 there was extensive use of semaphore-like signalling that occurred on a national level and it is fascinating to look at the SIGINT techniques and opportunities that occurred.

Ace Data Tagging

The business of “tagging”, cataloging or indexing databases has a fascinating history and goes back hundreds of years. I’ve blogged before about some early database systems such as the one used by Linnaeus in the 1760s but there are some other early cataloguing systems that are pretty interesting (for such a dry subject).

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.

Intelligence Dissemination – A New Approach…

“Too much Intelligence work consists of circulating information that isn’t relevant about subjects that don’t matter to people who aren’t interested.” Sir Humphrey Appleby (slightly amended). When I was a very junior soldier I became convinced that nobody ever read the intelligence reports that I produced. I discussed this somewhat demoralising conclusion with one of…