In the internet age, the digital breadcrumbs humans leave in their wake can be harnessed – the geotag on a tweeted photo, or the time stamps on a YouTube video upload. This open source, publicly available material, once scorned by the secret-stealers of the intelligence community, is rising in value as it is in volume. Open source intelligence (OSINT) is increasingly leveraged by intelligence agencies around the world to quantify, contextualize and even predict international events.
- Open source intelligence draws from publically available material, including traditional mass media – television, radio, magazines and newspapers – academic journals; books; conference proceedings; reports from think tanks, industry, civil society, and government; social media; and geospatial information such as maps and commercial satellite imagery.
- In the United States, the CIA collects, produces and distributes open source intelligence through the Director of National Intelligence Open Source Center (OSC), established in 2005.