Not only did OSINT assist with accurate news reporting, it also helped the civilians on the ground make well-informed decisions and escape combat zones.
One of the highlights is the number of stories that have come to light despite the inability of journalists in places like Ukraine, Iran, China and many others to report freely or on the ground, largely through the use of OSINT.
One of my personal highlights was a story that I published with my team in collaboration with Lighthouse and other European journalists about a little-known form of illegal oil pollution at sea caused by global shipping. While working on this story, I delved deeply into the capabilities and differences of optical and radar imagery and I created a Q&A to help others in the field to understand the topic. This experience opened up a new and very interesting field for me. Link: (https://www.dw.com/en/exclusive-cargo-ships-dumping-oil-into-the-sea-go-unpunished/a-61201989)
Another personal OSINT highlight for me in 2022 was giving a presentation at Tincon, a digital youth conference in Berlin, on how to debunk fake information. It was a challenge because the audience was very young, and exciting cause my family was in the audience as well. It was a great experience. (https://youtu.be/63aVojUHRCM)
There has been an increase in publishing visual investigations and the combination of OSINT and traditional reporting in the media. And there is also an increase in the number of people interested in learning OSINT techniques.
The focus in digital verification is not just on geolocation, but rather on answering the “W” questions: What happened, Where did it happen, When did it happen, Who was involved, and How did it happen. It is a process that involves using various techniques and tools to verify the authenticity and accuracy of online information.
QGIS for analysing and visualising spatial data like radar satellite data in combination with AIS data to track and analyse ship movements. Obsidian for creating a verification workflow. It was super easy to use and very helpful for visualisation and structuring data.
It is likely that the use of OSINT techniques in reporting will become more common and integrated into the reporting process. Telegram will play a more important role in information gathering. A very interesting development will be the use of artificial intelligence (AI) for content production and verification.
Twitter has long been a popular platform for sharing knowledge and resources related to OSINT and for connecting with others who are interested in it and friendships that have been formed. Don’t worry, the OSINT community will continue to thrive and find ways to stay connected, even if those ways may look different in the future.