OSINT and Counter-Terrorism: Access to Data and (AI) Technologies in Africa
The Policy Center for the New South in partnership with the Global Network on Extremism & Technology are organizing a closed workshop titled “OSINT and Counter-Terrorism: Access to Data and (AI) Technologies in Africa”, on May 18th, 2022.
In a modern and digitalized world characterized by an ever-growing amount of data shared and available online, Open-Source Intelligence become a central component of an analyst’s toolkit. The collection and analysis of freely available online information can provide researchers and analysts with valuable insight to monitor the evolution of a trend, to understand the extent of a network online and how information is shared within and from this network, or even to assess the veracity of an information and identify misinformation or disinformation campaigns.
Terrorist groups are increasingly adapting to, and using, modern technology to recruit, to disseminate illegal content and to promote violence. OSINT can help in identifying these networks and understanding the way they operate online. Online monitoring services can thus, help in tracking internet-based activities by terrorist and extremist groups. These intelligence tools can enable the rapid identification and flagging of any content that is deemed to be terrorist-related and thereby halt their propagation online.
Still challenging many governments in practice, using OSINT by investigators and law enforcement officers to counter terrorism is still subject to many fundamental questions:
- What are the benefits and challenges posed by OSINT to intelligence collectors to counter terrorist activities?
- How is it possible to ensure an adequate balance between the need to identify and monitor terrorist activities online and the right to freedom of expression?
- How are terrorist groups ‘adapting’ and changing their methods to counter the increased capacity of intelligence collectors to identify terrorist-related content online?