Gg – osint discussion forum

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OSINT – week 4 Discussion Forum
 
For this forum, you are to answer one of the questions listed below.  The original post must be a minimum of 250 words.  Additionally, you must post 2 peer reviews on a classmate’s original post.  Responses should be a minimum of 200 words each and include direct questions.
 
Questions:How has the mentality changed in the IC regarding OSINT according to Umphress?
Why do analysts and decision makers have a hard time believing OSINT is a valuable collection discipline?
 
 
Student Response #1 
How has the mentality changed in the IC regarding OSINT according to Umphress?
 
            Because of the internet, governments do not decide whether or not they will release information to the public, they only now decide what information will be released.  Because of the massive growth of the internet, Umphress points out that “. . . the internet has such a popular following, it is a good candidate for OSINT, the discipline of acquiring open-source information for the purpose of answering a specific question” (Umphress, 2005, 84).
 
            Information from the internet is delivered in a manner that computers can process.  As a result, the capabilities to scan, isolate, and collect useful data with the intent of processing it into intelligence has increased dramatically.  In the age prior to the internet, books, manuals and newspapers were scanned manually by a person, limiting the amount, and therefore, the general quality and impact of OSINT as a legitimate source. 
 
For that reason, OSINT has historically not been held in nearly as high esteem as it is now, and there is still room to grow.  In that regard, Umphress cites Mercado in his article.  Mercado says that “Collecting intelligence these days is at times less a matter of stealing through dark alleys in a foreign land. . . than one of surfing the Internet under the fluorescent lights of an office cubicle to find some open source.  The world is changing with the advance of commerce and technology. . . Mouse clicks. . . are more useful than stylish cloaks and shiny daggers. . .” (Mercado, 2004, np).  With the growing volume of useful intelligence derived from OSINT, the opinion as to the usefulness and validity of the art has grown as well. 
 
Resources
Mercado, Stephen. Sailing the Sea of OSINT in the Information Age. 2004. Studies in Intelligence 48, no. 3.  
Umphress, David. Diving the Digital Dumpster. 2005. Retrieved from https://edge.apus.edu/access/content/group/security-and-global-studies-common/Intelligence%20Studies/INTL%20422/Content/Week%204/Diving%20the%20Digital%20Dumpster_%20The%20Impact%20of%20the%20Internet%20on%20Collecting%20Open%20Source%20Intelligence.pdf
 
 
Student Response #2 
One of the most obvious answers to this question is that a lot of the intelligence officials that are in place today are from an era where the cloak and dagger type of intelligence collection was done.  It is hard for those in charge of making decisions to believe that OSINT, something that is available to nearly everyone, can rival other agencies intelligence marked as “SECRET” which is acquired through classified means.  Because of the advancement of commerce and technology OSINT is more available than ever.  Many companies and governments have data located online that if compared to diplomatic reports or stolen secrets can provide further intelligence on individuals and organizations.  
     The biggest contributor to OSINT is the internet.  But as Roger Z George states in his book “Intelligence and the National Security Strategist” “One of the worst aspects of the internet is the amount of time required to run a useful search.  The internet may be one great black holes of time management. As with all other collection disciplines, one needs skilled collectors to search the internet.”  By doing as George suggest, we can train analyst to know where and how to look for OSINT that can produce actionable intelligence.  If experienced analyst are not used, then there may be loss of productive time searching for data and intelligence in areas that are not a frugal.  We have to change the stigma about OSINT by creating more and more intelligence products from it.

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