Introduction of Open Source Intelligence

What is Open Source Intelligence?

Open source intelligence is intelligence that comes from public, open sources, including media reports, online forums, blogs, social media, and more. The difference between open source intelligence and traditional intelligence is that it is open and can be obtained and used by anyone without special channels or means. Open source intelligence provides a wider source of information for government, military, and commercial organizations, and can help them understand the external environment more quickly and accurately.

What are the classifications of open source intelligence?

Depending on the source, open source intelligence can be categorized as news reports, social media information, government reports, academic research, public records, etc.

According to the content, open source intelligence can be divided into political intelligence, economic intelligence, military intelligence, social intelligence and so on.

These classifications are intended to facilitate the management and analysis of open source intelligence to gain a better understanding of a topic or domain.

What are the challenges of open source intelligence?

1.Huge amount of data:

Collecting open source intelligence will generate a huge amount of data, which must be analyzed to consider its value. Of course, many automated tools exist for this purpose, and many governments and large corporations have developed their own suite of artificial intelligence tools and techniques to filter the data they acquire. However, massive data remains a challenge for open source intelligence collection.

2.Reliability of sources:

Especially when used in intelligence analysis, classified sources need to be thoroughly verified before they can be trusted.


Huge data volume is considered to be the biggest challenge for open source intelligence collection. People need to look at the output of automated tools to know whether the data collected is reliable. They also need to compare it with some disaggregated data (for some military and commercial information) to ensure its reliability and relevance. This would effectively consume time and valuable human resources.