Open Source Intelligence has played a pivotal role in key events like tracing Covid-19 origins, MH17 downing, the Boston Marathon bombing, and the Myanmar refugee crisis. Approximately 500 million tweets are published every day, totaling over 200 billion posts in a year. Facebook users upload 350 million photos per day. YouTube users add nearly 720,000 hours of new video every day. Almost all devices are online today in the connected world.
While monitoring messages was exclusive to intelligence agencies, the tons of information available in the public realm today has made it possible for general and security enthusiasts to look for insights that might not have been possible earlier. The U.S. Department of State defines OSINT as "intelligence that is produced from publicly available information and is collected, exploited, and disseminated promptly to an appropriate audience to address a specific intelligence requirement."
Designed correctly, OSINT can reduce risk across a variety of common risks such as weather conditions, disease outbreaks, corporate risk management, data privacy, reputation management, in addition to higher-order tasks like national security and cybersecurity. Do not construe this as legal advice, promotion, or authorization to indulge in any activity whatsoever.