“By intelligence, we mean every sort of information about the enemy and his country. The basis, in short, of our own plans and operation”
Carl von Clausewitz, Prussian General, 1832
The importance of intelligence has been well recognized since it always plays an important role in military and business wars. The use of intelligence mainly focuses on predicting the actions of adversaries or evaluation of situation. Therefore, intelligence should be reliable and broad to fertilize the analysis process. If the intelligence can be collected continuously, broadly, and reliably as well as be precisely analyzed, we could expect that tremendous progress will be achieved no matter in military or business interests. Therefore, intelligence collection and analysis are always well perceived by the authorities. Traditionally, intelligence is collected and analyzed by professionals. Intelligence analysts will analyze the collected intelligence according to standard guidelines and processes. Such analysis process needs large amount of knowledge of analysis techniques as well as personal experience. The accumulation of such knowledge and experience, however, requires great effort and labor. For this reason, experienced analysts are generally considered as important assessment within a government organization or commercial industry. Although capable analysts could bring huge benefit to their organizations, the high cost of recruitment and training makes them possible only in large organizations and enterprises. To remedy the above deficiency, open source intelligence (OSINT) has emerged as an important approach for intelligence management since the collected intelligence is cheap, updated, and in vast volume.
Open Source INtelligence (OSINT) is unclassified information that has been deliberately discovered, discriminated, distilled and disseminated to a select audience in order to address a specific question.
(NATO, Open Source Intelligence Handbook, Norfolk: Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic, 2001)
Nowadays, privacy leakages are everywhere! Companies, Industrial and Government must be aware of easiness with which everyone can collect and use these data, by using publicly available free tools. Sensitive data must be subjected to severe regulations, that should be frequently updated according to the rapidly increasing technological development.
Our research group is sensible on this problem. We are interested on OSINT methodologies and tools currently available, as well as on how they change in response to the progress of technologies, like User Generated Content (UGC) and the consequently information deluge, that on the one hand increase the potentiality of OSINT, on the other hands it complicates research methodologies introducing a huge amount of noise in results, that need to be filtered.