OSINT for Good

OSINT at a Glance

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Victims

of human trafficking were identified worldwide in 2020.

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Percent Increase

in reports of suspected child sexual abuse online in 2021.

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 Ransomware Attacks

identified against nation-states and enterprise data breaches in 2021.

Solving Societal Issues Using Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) for Good

Open-source intelligence (OSINT) continues to grow in acceptance and use beyond the traditional military and law enforcement sectors. The acceptance and integration of OSINT into new fields, like journalism, academia, and social services, has helped propel it’s use into more philanthropic efforts. The concept of OSINT for Good is growing and has even garnered the hashtag #OSINTforgood on social media. Today, we see OSINT used by corporations and non-profits to stop the exploitation of children online and human trafficking, to identify animal abuse, to reunite families, to advance human rights, to stop the misuse of natural resources and to root out ‘fake news’.

Social media platforms continue to work diligently to remove content categorized as “child nudity and sexual exploitation”.  According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC),  new data released shows a 35% increase in reports of suspected child sexual abuse online in 2021; a total of 29.3 million reports – the most ever in one year. OSINT investigations can reveal child sexual abuse perpetrated through the deep and dark web. Actionable intelligence gained through OSINT investigations can find and potentially stop those using the anonymity of the web to exploit children. OSINT for good can also aid in human trafficking investigations, bringing victims homes and freeing them from their captors.

According to Statista in 2020, 109,216 victims of human trafficking were identified worldwide. Human traffickers often leverage the anonymity of the deep and dark web to lure, groom, exploit and buy & sell their victims. Their digital footprints can be analyzed using OSINT to find trafficking trends, hotspots, potential routes, and networks. Using OSINT for good, victims can be identified and saved from servitude and abuse. The global scale of human trafficking makes OSINT one of the most powerful tools to detect and stop the exploitation of victims worldwide.

Whether family members have been forcibly separately by natural disaster, international conflict or due to internal familial dynamics, OSINT can help reunite and reconnect families by piecing together digital clues. OSINT investigations can uncover locations where family members may be during a natural disasters or civil unrest event. As real-time events occur, OSINT can provide first responders with information to help reunite those who may be forcibly separated or find their last known location before an event occurred.

Through natural language processing and geospatial methods for analyzing online content, OSINT for good can be used to overcome the physical and societal barriers to gathering reliable evidence in human rights cases. OSINT can help to expose evidence of human rights violations and help organizations like the United Nations monitor member states’ compliance with international regulations. OSINT investigations can expose corruption, harm, and the adverse impacts of these violations on individuals, communities and nations.

OSINT tools should be part of investigations into the extent of natural resource injuries, whether it’s caused by the release of hazardous substances, deforestation, oil leaks or other hazardous materials by humans. Data gathered from online activities can help investigators from federal and state agencies investigate these events and determine the cause of the natural resource abuse or misuse.  OSINT should be part of any online investigation to understand how and why the abuse occurred and who may have facilitated or been part of the activities that caused the damage.

Protecting communities from threats and ensuring safety during natural and man-made disasters is paramount. Intelligence gathered using open source is often the key piece of information to identifying a threat, or to a potential bad actor. OSINT safeguards communities by bringing any threats made to people and critical assets to the forefront seamlessly, so that law enforcement and government officials can act quickly.

Non-profits are turning to open source and web intelligence to find people selling and abusing animals on the deep and dark web. Animal fighting rings, sales of endangered species and the abuse of animals can be found using Automated AI-powered OSINT.  By analyzing marketplace information as well as cryptocurrency transactions, non-profits and federal agencies can determine if animal abuse is occurring and if rare species are being trafficked and sold on the dark web.

‘Fake News’ is a term that has evolved over the last four years to mean anything false or misleading in the media. False or misleading information can arise from fake accounts and from the spread of dishonest or incomplete information. OSINT can be used to identify online accounts that impersonate a public or private sector person who has influence in the media space. This same intelligence can be used to identify false photos or videos that do not represent reality. But using OSINT to weed out false narratives about current events, society can then stop the spread of misleading information regarding elections, international conflicts, and natural disasters.

Corporations face threats to all aspects of their business. From potential cyberattacks to threats against intellectual property and employees, no business is immune. To ensure online security as well as physical security, organizations of all sizes must integrate OSINT technology into their security posture to keep employees and assets safe.

AI-Powered OSINT at Cobwebs Technologies #OSINTforGood

Cobwebs Technologies provides AI-Powered OSINT solutions that can help philanthropic efforts and OSINT for good. We work tirelessly with clients to ensure our solutions are used, not only to keep people safe, but to advance human rights and protect those most vulnerable, including animals and our natural resources.

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OSINT for Good Resources

How open source intelligence can reduce fentanyl overdoses

How Open-Source Intelligence Can Reduce Fentanyl Overdoses

Government agencies – from health and human services to law enforcement—need to adopt innovative approaches to stem the rising tide of addiction and drug overdoses, namely fentanyl overdoses.

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WEBINT Solves Child Abduction Cases

The impact of web intelligence (WEBINT) on solving human trafficking and child abduction cases is immeasurable. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), in 2021 there were 337,195 NCIC entries for missing children.

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OSINT Technology Impacts Recovery of Victims in Human Trafficking Cases

When OSINT investigation methodology is employed in transnational human trafficking investigations, the impact is immediate.