The evolution of OSINT

The International Relations and Security Network (ISN), ETH Zurich published an excellent report on the history and growth of OSINT late last year. It makes for some interesting reading to understand OSINT in historical context starting with  the FBIS reports, I'm showing may age now, but as East Africa intel analyst way back in the late 1980's-early 1990's, the FBIS, EIU, ION in addition to Reuters/AFP and SAPA was our best OSINT!
They go on to argue the importance of OSINT and how the discipline has grown. I'm cited as a source in the report, which is pretty cool...

The jury is still out on the impact of the Wikileaks saga and more recently, the use of  social media in the unrest in Tunisia on how intelligence professionals view open sources and how it can be used in the collection and analysis of intelligence, Those governments and companies that continue to shy away from, or are ignorant about OSINT, will have to face the consequences sooner rather than later.  As an OSINT trainer and analyst and KM expert - my gut tells me, this was a turning point in OSINT - much like 9/11.


Anonymous said…
Three points:
1. Open source exploitation is no more no less effective than any other form of information working, including secret. Certainly, it may be more efficient.
2. WikiLeaks is a storm in a teacup. The hypocrisies on all sides in the spat are pretty obvious. Moreover, the spat, characterised as a trade-off between secrecy and transparency, is not as intrinsically authentic as the pursuit of honesty. Certainly, government agencies have to get used to a more febrile atmosphere in which to conduct their affairs; but, privacy remains a vital human value, including in government work.
3. 9/11 did not change the world! Politicians changed the world based upon their perception of the event and the meaning they attributed to it. We choose to be terrorised and reorganise our societies around such events ... or, we can choose not to elevate it to an existential threat.
Anonymous said…
Thank you for the compliment about the OSINT report. As being the one was responsible for the OSINT topics at the CSS/ISS and our discussions in Tutzing, I am glad to read your kind compliments.

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