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  • Writer's pictureClayton T. Robertson

What is OSINT and Why Is It of Potential Value to Your Case?

By Clayton T. Robertson (Criminal Defense / Civil Rights Attorney)


"OSINT" is an acronym for "Open Source Intelligence." OSINT is information that is publicly available and is of value to your case or investigation. It is based on data and information collected from publicly-availably sources, such as the Internet, news and media, social media, and other sources. It may be sourced from specific individuals (individually-generated content) or from institutions (institutionally-generated content).


Numerous online sites contain listings or directories of OSINT-sourced information. For example, you may go to the following exhaustive guide ("OPEN SOURCE INTELLIGENCE TOOLS AND RESOURCES HANDBOOK"):



Why is OSINT valuable to your case? In either a criminal or civil case, information contained on social media or elsewhere could be invaluable. Do the other parties in the suit have information online that could hurt their credibility? Is there information online that is problematic for you (for example, are there any news reports or social media posts about the case that contain information that is false or incorrect)? Have any witnesses posted any information about the case or incident? Does your attorney (or their investigator) need to locate a possible witness and obtain a witness statement ("people investigation")? If so, then finding these persons can facilitated by an OSINT-based search. Do they need to collect information on a business ("business research")? The list of issues is practically endless.


Some attorneys and investigators are more or less comfortable with OSINT and with this content and its value. Moreover, there are different domains of content, such as the surface web, the deep web, and the dark web. This adds an additional level of complexity. This blog has only scratched the surface of this issue. If you believe there is OSINT information helpful to your case, you need to let your attorney know.






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