Home Blog Corporate Security Harnessing the Power of Publicly Available Information


Harnessing the Power of Publicly Available Information

February 14, 2022

It’s no secret that the world is going digital. Governments, businesses, and individuals alike access and generate a seemingly infinite amount of open source data every day. And the amount of data we generate is showing no signs of slowing down.

Data by itself isn’t very useful though. It’s how we organize and interpret that data that has the power to transform the world we live in. The public entities and commercial enterprises that understand how to harness the power of open-source data analysis have the ability to surpass competing or opposing interests.

But where can you find data in the first place?

The Power of the Public Domain

It comes as a surprise to many that a significant amount of useful open source data is freely available online. It’s called Publicly Available Information (PAI), and when aggregated and analyzed effectively, PAI can uncover obscure connections and relationships, unearth rivals’ plans and strategies, and expose potential threats.

There are a wide variety of sources you can use to find PAI. The internet is one of the largest PAI repositories, and the data can come in the form of articles and blogs, forums and chat rooms, or user-generated content. Print media, such as newspapers and magazines, are also common sources of PAI along with commercial and academic reports and journals. Government documents and databases are other key sources that contain PAI.

Because there is so much of it available, searching and reviewing a sufficient amount of useful PAI can often prove to be difficult. This task can be exacerbated by other factors as well, like when it’s located in more obscure and hard-to-find places like the dark web. Venturing into these corners of the web is difficult in the first place, and without taking proper precautions, doing so could also expose your organization to increased risks.

Why is Analyzing PAI Important?

With a globalized world and more accessible ways of connecting with people regardless of location comes increased opportunities for opposing parties to operate unchecked. It’s almost impossible to avoid leaving a digital footprint though, and that’s where the opportunity with PAI lies.

Competing enterprises and entities, criminals, and other adverse interests often leave a trail when communicating or planning their next actions. And uncovering that data, which is more often than not freely available, can help your organization respond appropriately.

How to Use PAI to Your Advantage

There are a wide variety of use cases for collecting and analyzing PAI for both governmental and commercial purposes.

For the private sector, PAI can alert multinational corporations to localized disruptions that may impact their supply chain or office locations. This data can also forewarn corporations of impending cyberattacks or physical threats, as well as provide crucial market research to aid the product development process.

In the public sector, government and public safety bodies can analyze public data to glean crucial insights into enemy operations or neutralize threats. PAI can also serve as an aid to humanitarian efforts by alerting organizations to looming violence or approaching hazardous weather conditions.

With the aim of assisting both public and private organizations, PAI has helped build the foundation on which many intelligence systems and products are built. A blog post or a video posted on media platforms may give you some insight into what you’re trying to learn. Combining those with other posts, videos, and publicly available information could uncover far more though and help you gain a deeper understanding of your subject.

Harnessing the power of intelligence products can help you find the needle you’ve been looking for in the haystack. And with a goal-oriented approach to open-source intelligence (OSINT) , these systems can help you identify PAI data, connect it with other data points, and organize all of it in the context of achieving your intended objective.

Using Artificial Intelligence to Analyze PAI

By 2025, there will be more than 200 zettabytes (that’s 200,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes) of data in cloud storage. There’s no way human eyes could wade through that much data and analyze it effectively, so the best option is to support your analysis with artificial intelligence.

Cobwebs Technologies is a scalable solution designed by intelligence and security experts. It uses artificial intelligence to find hidden leads and connect the dots between data points, allowing you to generate actionable insights at the click of a button.

The Cobwebs Web Intelligence platform  uses machine learning algorithms to support investigative practices like pattern recognition, visual link and predictive analysis, and language processing. By incorporating these aspects into your open-source intelligence efforts, you can seamlessly and efficiently access and analyze publicly available information on the open, deep, and dark webs.

Enhancing your investigations with PAI and optimizing them with artificial intelligence will lead to more accurate observations as well as increase operational efficiencies. And most importantly, you’ll be harnessing the power of AI to create a better world.

Stephen Lerner

Stephen is an intelligence team leader at Cobwebs Technologies. He trains clients around the world on the use of Cobweb’s proprietary open-source intelligence platforms, and on the field of OSINT and WEBINT in general. In particular, he enjoys researching the psychology of intelligence analysis.



Request a Demo

Skip to content