Open Source Intelligence for Newsrooms
So much has been made of Open Source Intelligence, OSINT, among both practitioners and the press, in the past few years that I was reluctant to use it without ironic quotes. You can find web-based toolkits and professional copy, and crowd-sourced pastebins on the subject, in abundance. You will be given long lists of bookmarks for websites for “People Finders” and “Deep Web Search” and the like, and some of these can be quite useful. Professionally produced literature will add methodology such as the traditional intelligence-gathering cycle to similar lists of sources. While all of these resources can be tapped for their selective value, I have yet to encounter any such guide or reference that can be read as an instruction manual and applied with reliable results (50%). One popular information-gathering method on the web, Google Dorks, seems to be particularly disappointing for most competent researchers attempting to expand their toolbox to include internet OSINT and ‘data-mining.’ It is quite possible for non-programmer reporters and researchers to apply the tools used in penetration-testing, data-mining, and by intelligence professionals to discover obscure documents targeted to their interest.
I apply a hybrid method I refer to casually as forensic indexing which produces results which enhance a story, and quite often merit publication in their own right.
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