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Title: Open source intelligence (OSINT) : a contemporary intelligence lifeline
Author: Gibson, S. D.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2709 5599
Awarding Body: Cranfield University
Current Institution: Cranfield University
Date of Award: 2011
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Traditionally, intelligence has been distinguished from all other forms of information working by its secrecy.Secret intelligence is about the acquisition of information from entities that do not wish that information to be acquired and,ideally,never know that it has. However, the transformation in information and communication technology(ICT)over the last two decades challenges this conventionally held perception of intelligence in one critical aspect: that information can increasingly be acquired legally in the public domain-‘open source intelligence’(OSINT). The intelligence community has recognised this phenomenon by formally creating discrete open source exploitation systems within extant intelligence institutions. Indeed,the exploitation of open source of information is reckoned by many intelligence practitioners to constitute 80 percent or more of final intelligence product. Yet,the resource committed to, and status of, open source exploitation belies that figure. This research derives a model of the high order factors describing the operational contribution of open source exploitation to the broader intelligence function: context; utility; cross-check; communication; focus; surge; and analysis. Such a model is useful in three related ways: first, in determining appropriate tasking for the intelligence function as a whole; second, as a basis for optimum intelligence resource allocation; and third, as defining objectives for specifically open source policy and doctrine. Additionally, the research details core capabilities, resources, and political arguments necessary for successful open source exploitation. Significant drivers shape the contemporary context in which nation-state intelligence functions operate: globalisation; risk society; and changing societal expectation. The contemporary transformation in ICT percolates each of them. Understanding this context is crucial to the intelligence community. Implicitly, these drivers shape intelligence, and the relationship intelligence manages between knowledge and power within politics,in order to optimise decision-making. Because open source exploitation obtains from this context, it is better placed than closed to understand it.Thus, at a contextual level,this thesis further argues that the potential knowledge derived from open source exploitation not only has a unique contribution by comparison to closed, but that it can also usefully direct power towards determination of the appropriate objectives upon which any decisions should be made at all.
Supervisor: Cleary, L. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available