OPEN SOURCE INTELLIGENCE
OSINT is a branch of intelligence as compared to Humanint, Sigint which takes a different sort of intelligence to create it. Understanding of the domain, the exact purpose, the technical capability to keep navigating the digital world maze and finally connect facts, data, images, maps and what not in a manner which normal professionals cannot even imagine of. The newspaper and yellow pages type information of yesteryears, even at the best of it, could barely be recognised as intelligence worthy of use.
The onset of internet changed it all, slowly and steadily. The world interactions and consequently data started moving on to this medium. The social media with locations, videos and maps finally made it a veritable landmine. The list of customers kept on widening to the extent that even the recruiters and market survey guys started to use it. The question can be asked the other way round, who does not need it?
Best data is what is created in real time, is dynamic in nature and at times created by the persons / agencies against which it is used. The authenticity of the data is such that can be validated by lots of cross referencing. The skills of an OSINT professional is that even with best of efforts of obfuscation, the steps taken and moves made cannot be covered. There are so many ways of reaching the same facts that some even the OSINT professional is not aware of it. He has to keep going on with his wide array of tools, his intelligence, intuition and expertise gained in the large playing field of the internet.
The real strength of OSINT is still not made aware to the public. Backend efforts made for the connects and data based evidence created out of OSINT is not made available to public. It is generally stated that it was a part of a painstaking investigation. The role of OSINT in the establishing various facts pertaining to the downing of MH17 in 2014 to the present mistaken missile attack on the Ukrainian airliner by Iran is commendable.
OSINT WILL ESTABLISH MOST FACTS OF OUR TIMES, SMALL AND BIG, IRREFUTABLY.