Presentation on theme: "Open Source Solutions Presentation Washington DC Alfred Rolington CEO Janes 24th May 1999."— Presentation transcript:
Open Source Solutions Presentation Washington DC Alfred Rolington CEO Janes 24th May 1999
The Changing Messages in Western Information, Knowledge and Intelligence Four hundred years of Open Sources
OSINT Agenda A brief view of Intelligence over four hundred years - Comparing 1600 to 2000. Review the dramatic increases in information flows and the inexorable rise in the power and influence of computers. Are we still sure that we are in control of the process and the results. A look at these changes as they affect individuals as well as the organisations perspectives and skills. Finally we have two suggestions for governments and organisations world wide.
England 1600 Woe to the hapless intelligence agent! After four decades of spying on anything with a black cross on its sails he now is tasked to look towards France, Scotland, Flanders, Denmark, Ireland, the Americas of the New World as well as Spain. Today similar Intelligence Officers have to track potential threats from 60 to 80 countries as well as technology transfer, terrorism, trade disputes etc. etc...
Jacobean Gunpowder In 1605 a group of Catholic sympathisers, or terrorists, attempted to assassinate the new King of England and Scotland by blowing up the Houses of Parliament as he was about to open it for a new session. The then head of the secret service allowed the conspirators to apparently come close to completing their mission before spectacularly unmasking them before the new King. They wanted to impress their new boss with the Secret Services skill. Control of the sources could be absolute.
Nuclear Tests In 1998 India and Pakistan caught a number of intelligence agencies off guard by testing nuclear devices. One reason was some agencys over reliance on satellite technology, another was a lack of reliable human intelligence and another was a disregard of some open source information suppliers. As the Jacobean spy masters said, It is the web of intelligence that is important when you are pinpointing the spider.
Information and Judgement Intelligence is not just the collection, analysis and dissemination of information. When there is an overload of data, judgement becomes more important than collection. This is not the same as analysis. As has been said making use of the often unwelcome oceans of open source content is different from reading the classified traffic and it should be taught differently.
Bias in Communication Every discipline, as Nietzsche said, is constrained by what it forbids its practitioners to do. Disciplines have implicit rules and restrictions on thought and imagination and none is more hedged with taboos than the collection, analysis and dissemination of information, knowledge and intelligence. This is a large problem for MI6 and the rest including of course Janes.
Post New World Order The traditional centres of understanding are breaking down i.e.. Anglo-centric, US- centric and Asia centric. Many of these grouping are now a bias in need of review. We now argue against a skills-based approach to intelligence in favour of a methodological one. We must be wary of objective analysis and come to terms with the bias and process inherent in the production cycle. We must also carefully review our means of delivery.
Changing Requirements The information explosion, changing technology, globalisation of everything ( or so it seems ), and shrinking or inadequate budgets are the real background drivers with which we have to deal. These will increase in complexity and they will not go away. Often there is still a problem with the reliable relevant dissemination of intelligence up and down the chain. Often as we all know it is more effective to let the customer pull information rather than only pushing unfocused intelligence at them.
How much can OSINT do? The most ardent enthusiasts claim that open source information can provide up to 80% of an intelligence requirement. This can often mean quantity not quality. Most OSINT, like the present Internet, is slow, out of date, inaccurate and unverifiable. But even the Internet can do more than raise questions that need further research. But the analysis we do on these information flows must be verifiable and unbiased.
Technology and Cost Computer power is doubling every 18 months and the cost of bits are halving every three to four years. Unfortunately these incredible advances in power often give us the false impression we too as individuals are advancing our intelligence assessments at a similar rate. Too often however we see the cycle time reduce but the results are unsound.
Open versus Classified There is a mind-set surrounding secrecy, with its application of codewords and classifications which gives an air of authority and worse accuracy. But even good open source intelligence is at a psychological disadvantage for the very reason it is not secret and can be disseminated to uncleared personnel.
1600 versus 2000 The Gunpowder Plot was uncovered by almost exclusively covert sources. In 1600 it was still possible to have read almost everything printed in English. And although open sources were growing rapidly the actual amount was still very limited. As we turn into 2000 the CNN factor means that open sources often drive events and policy rather than being used to make intelligence and clarify policy.
Differing Views and Spin As open source intelligence analysts we must attempt to judge the relative value of reports on the same subject which emanate from different sources and be able to weight the contrasts and discrepancies. Over a period of time we should build weighted trends for how different information is dealt with by differing sources world-wide. The technology and the know how exists but is sometimes badly employed.
Role of Government We have seen a number of initiatives on both sides of the Atlantic and some as with Trawlerman in the UK have floundered. The issue is wider than the Intelligence Community and should be seen as a key component of national and regional efficiency and competitiveness in the C/21st The first nation to create a real link between information, knowledge and intelligence - a virtual information community, will build a significant advantage.
Henry VII and Queen Victoria The fifteenth century witnessed the first open source revolution brought on by the German, Dutch and English printers. This revolution brought expansion, discovery and democratic government to the New World. It marked decline in the Old. By the time we reached the Victorians, governments both sides of the Atlantic had recognised the value of libraries, museums of science and technology and the broadening of education. It was a long learning curve.
21st Century It is time that those same governments recognised the value of global intelligence gathering for all sections of their far flung communities. We know that some of this is being undertaken by the Intelligence Community but of course this is often classified. We are beginning to use Knowledge Management techniques in our own area to share, improve and expand our intelligence.
A New Black Art In the Fourteenth Century it was the priest and a whole tribe of scribes who controlled Knowledge. In the Sixteenth Century it was the Printer. In the Eighteenth Century it was the Scientist and Academic Gentleman. The Nineteenth it was the Engineer. In the Twentieth it has increasingly been the Computer and Software Analysts. In the 21st if we are not careful it will be the Intelligence and Knowledge Specialist.
Future Western Trends In 1600 only 1% of the population of the West could read and write. Oral communication was the most important channel for passing information. Rumour and gossip was the prevalent open source. By 2000 Western literacy will be well over 90% and the mass of information and knowledge will double every few months. But even if we begin to have a more symbiotic relationship with technology a real understanding of how information flows affect society will be vital.
Future Global Trends Information and the ability to search it will increase geometrically. Technology for analysing information will improve but the rate of human consumption will not keep pace with technology at least in the short term. Information has since the beginning of time been used as a weapon of stealth. This will become increasingly difficult to detect or control with traditional skills and practices.
Individual versus Group Knowledge Since childhood we have been rewarded on individual merit. Hoarding knowledge has always been a way to stand out from the crowd and this, not sharing, has been normal. In school, the concept of knowledge sharing is synonymous with cheating. In the workplace, this idea of individual effort and knowledge hoarding continues. Passwords on computers reinforce the notion that knowledge sharing is bad.
Suggestions Technology has revolutionised our culture and altered the information geology. The idea of central information centres and closed intelligence networks is becoming obsolete. Electronic information if it is to become useful intelligence needs new understanding and looser more creative relationships. Because knowledge is fundamentally a product of people and not technology, the focus should be the social objective not a technical solution. Governments we would argue now need to appoint a new Director with Cabinet authority.
Governments Role There are cabinet posts for Agriculture, Industry and Technology, Transport even Culture. These have grown out of the economics that traditionally drive a country. We should not just talk about information, knowledge and intelligence as being an asset. We should in two ways act on that understanding.
Conclusion First, it is time for governments to undertake a full independent audit of their Intelligence organisations. It should be an open review. Second, we should recognise the true value of open sources and appoint a Director of Information and Knowledge who should be tasked to develop a strategy for the 21st/C. This we believe should soon be done by all governments before there is an inevitable backlash and other groups attempt to tell us how to act and what to think.