What is OSINT and Why Is It Important To A Private Investigator?
OSINT is the acronym for Open Source Intelligence. OSINT is the art of gathering information, connecting the dots, and then analyzing the data. Private investigators rely heavily on both private and public records to crack a case. To be successful with searching public records, a private investigator must know where to look, how to analyze the data, and how to put the pieces of the puzzle together. Our Long Island private investigator specializes in finding, researching, and analyzing both public and private records to disclose the truth.
Investigators who conduct OSINT investigations must be analytical and critical thinkers. This type of intel is gathered to understand the bigger picture of an event. These techniques are NOT limited to what you find on popular search engines, but isntead, found on non indexed websites and public records. OSINT is a critical tool for investigative professionals.
How Does OSINT Work?
Initially used in the late 80’s as a military tool by the United States, OSINT is now used by investigators, journalists, law enforcement, the public, and researchers throughout the world. By using OSINT tools, one can see a clearer picture of an overall case.
Two primary concepts help define OSINT, including:
Obtaining public information does not require any particular licensing, however, it does require the skill and understanding of how and what to look for. Once the information is gathered it is then analyzed to understand the information collected. The information is typically found in:
What Type of Information is Considered OSINT?
Open-sourced information can be discovered on a multitude of public forums. These include:
- Public Records including Census Data, Vitals, Marriage/Divorce Records
- Published Broadcasting such as podcast, television, audio recordings, the news
- Industry journals, publications, proceedings etc.
- Public Events
- Government documents and websites
- Social Media Websites
- Dark Web and the internet as a whole (blogs, forums, videos, images, music, etc)
- Company websites, annual reports, employee profiles, resumes
- Maps and geospatial information
How Does A Private Investigator Use OSINT?
As a private investigator living in the 21st Century, it is extremely important to factor OSINT techniques into all investigations. Google and Facebook are simply not enough information when creating a larger picture of someone. Public records show a piece of evidence – but not a full picture. An investigator will sift through social media accounts, driving records, financial records, judgments/bankruptcies, court records, online websites, background investigations, vitals, marriage/divorce records, business filings, the dark web, and more to crack a case. By using OSINT techniques, a private investigator gains the full picture of an individual.
Every case requires an investigator to collect, analyze, research, verify, and correlate multiple types of data through multiple mediums. This allows a private investigator to solve cases, uncover false documents, discover the truth about a particular case, and conduct background investigations. This allows PIs to conduct more thorough background investigations, locate missing individuals or subjects, disclose telephone numbers, emails, assets, employment, places frequented, and more.
What Is The Difference Between Public Records and Free Record Searches Online?
Public records and free record searches online may appear similiar on the surface, but it is not always the case. Public reocrds are obtained from the source of the actual record, while online searches are gathered through an algorithm which is often incorrect. Although tempting, free record searches often contain outdated or inaccurate information. Because of this, the documents you are searching may be incorrect and have very little value to them. These companies also sometimes use techniques that could get you in trouble in the court of law.
By using OSINT tools and public records, a private investigator can put the pieces together for your particular case. This allows a detective to expose what an individual is looking to hide and gain a full encompassing vision of an individual. Whether you are a law firm, corporation, or individual looking for the truth, a private investigator will know the best way to conduct the research and obtain the records. Open source is a tool that has been used by good private investigators since it began.