This article was originally featured in Forbes
The war in Ukraine may be the most documented conflict in human history. On social media, we can watch in near real time as military units prepare for battle. A few hours later, we see the aftermath.
Images are being posted and recirculated by an online community of open-source intelligence professionals and enthusiasts. The more analytically rigorous among them may have military, intelligence agency, IT and think tank backgrounds where they learned the skills and abilities that inform their analyses, providing in-depth explanations of battlefield successes and failures to anyone with an internet connection. Information and intelligence that was once available only to governments and intelligence services can now be seen and understood by anyone.
According to the Office of the U.S. Director of National Intelligence, open-source intelligence, also known as OSINT, is defined as “publicly available information appearing in print or electronic form including radio, television, newspapers, journals, the Internet, commercial databases, and videos, graphics, and drawings.” Typically, OSINT doesn’t include any information obtained using clandestine means, making it available to anyone with the ability to uncover it or pay for it.
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