Innovative Global Business and National Security Intelligence Platforms and AnalyticsJulia Rapp
Utilizing open-source data can give your organization significant strategic and tactical advantages. The capabilities to collect and begin analysis of big data with machine learning and artificial intelligence are primarily developed and operated by industry and Research and Development Universities. How did these capabilities amount to the capacity they are at today?
There is a colossal amount open-source data available in the world today, resulting in information overload. It’s estimated that internet users alone produce about "2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day". In addition, the vast majority of the world’s population, organizations and companies now have more than a 20-year digital footprint. Open-source data, "data and information that is accessible by the general public", has been found to have unquestionable value, in any intelligence situation, whether it’s national security or business related.
Prior to 2000, the federal government was the leader in this field, but that’s no longer the case. The combination of the Intelligence Community and Analytic Tradecraft embedded into ever advancing AI-based algorithms, combined with the breadth of online data access (openly published, openly communicated, or collected through global web-scrapping) is a powerful global body of knowledge that has to be the first step for the Intelligence Community (IC). The IC used to be the sole entity with the abilities to access, collect, process and analyze large volumes of data to provide insight and advantages to decision-makers, but now, global actors at all levels, including commercially, can provide the same services. The commercialization of space and technology means that the private sector can rival or beat nation state intelligence services soon. Adversaries are taking advantage of open-source data. If the IC does not start utilizing this body of knowledge, it will be behind its adversaries from the very beginning.
There are now many successful commercial companies that provide these analytic platforms and SaaS services online to the private and public sectors for business, government, social, economic and cyber intelligence needs (in the form of global risk trends and indicators, social media insights and trends, as well as supply chain and cyber risks). Open source is just the beginning. From there, the other intelligences play their roles. It is no longer a question of if but when the IC will exploit and mainstream these beginning phases of open-source data collection and analytics in enablement of IC functional areas while reserving national resources and methods to fill in the remaining gaps. New, young analysts have the desire to become data literate. The IC can empower them and support that transition. If the IC can finally leverage the access, collection and analysis of open-source data that has been available for over 20 years, it can continue on to the next set of challenges like bias, sentiment, validation and problem solving.
Last Wednesday our founder and CEO Terry Roberts spoke as a panelist for the AFCEA Intel Analysis & Tradecraft in an Open & Rapid World Webinar and discussed these concepts, the changing landscape, and what action today would need to look like to ensure a continued understanding by the IC for years to come. View that discussion and more here