Saturday, June 24, 2006

Open Source Intelligence

PH writes in with the following:

"There is a new section on the Wikipedia regarding Open Source Intelligence. OSINT is of value to NGO Security Practitioners because it is the only type of Intelligence they can gather without risking their Neutrality. OSINT should not be confused with espionage which is the clandestine gather of intelligence by methods which are often illegal in the host nation and not available to NGO Security Practitioners. The NATO Open Source Documents are a good starting point."

We couldn't agree more. This blog is a example of OSINT (coincidentally, it was just favorably mentioned on a leading Open Source Intelligence Web site).

Although some within the NGO community are turned off by the term, intelligence gathering is a critical skill for a successful NGO security practitioner (just swap the word "information" for "intelligence" if you're uncomfortable). If you talk at length to anyone who works for a government intelligence agency, you'll discover the vast majority of information gathered for analysis doesn't come from spies or electronic intercepts, but from public and open sources that anyone can access. The trick is knowing how to collect and analyze the information. The links to the NATO manuals mentioned in Wiki are a great starting point for learning about OSINT methodology.


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