Making the most of open source intelligence

Disrupting Crime and Terrorism with Open Source Intelligence Technology

​In an increasingly digital world, society is living and interacting more online. Criminals and terrorists have naturally evolved to operate online, exploiting digital advancements to serve their purpose. 

While these digital advances present challenges, they also offer opportunities. The resulting digital footprint of criminals and terrorists can be used by the law enforcement and intelligence community to transform the conduct of investigations.

Amongst the best ways of exploiting a digital footprint is through Open Source Intelligence or iii (Internet Intelligence and Investigations) as it is known in Law Enforcement.

In practice, Open Source Intelligence exploitation or iii is the practice of capturing, collating and presenting in a meaningful way, publically available online data to be used for intelligence generation and evidential purposes in the fight against crime.

Traditionally, this has been a reactive process to catch perpetrators post event. With a heightened threat landscape and increasingly sophisticated criminals, reacting is simply not enough.

This is where emerging technologies come into play.

Today there are Artificial Intelligence driven, intuitive toolsets that allow both law enforcement officers and staff and members of the intelligence community to be proactive as well as reactive as they conduct operations – collecting and analysing material; and collaborating to develop a richer intelligence picture and more compelling evidence. These toolsets are available in fully secure, Cloud hosted environments that offer much better value for money that legacy approaches.

The benefits available from adoption of these technologies particularly when deployed as choreographed toolsets is considerable:

  • The technology reduces manual search activity for investigators. Algorithms sift through vast amounts of open source data in minutes, slashing time-to-intelligence from hours to minutes​ while the technology is able to make links across multiple data points to identify hidden connections.
  • Intelligence and Evidence creation is made more efficient, exploiting built in workflows and collaboration tools.
  • Users are safe online through the use of unattributable internet access and online profiles that the toolset helps to create and keep alive, again using AI.
  • Emerging technologies now provide access to a huge portion of both the open and dark webs. 
  • Such toolsets provide full audit records ‘down to the mouse click’ and access to audit logs can be controlled for internal audit purposes. 

About Sopra Steria

Sopra Steria has a proud history of serving police forces and law enforcement agencies through provision of critical technology and bespoke services, supporting frontline, operational and support functions in UK policing, as well as central government agencies and criminal justice organisations.

Supporting their digital transformation journey, we help law enforcement strengthen their performance and collaboration, improve community and citizen engagement whilst also delivering efficiency savings.

To discuss Open Source Intelligence technology in further detail, please contact

This case study was contributed as part of techUK’s Digitally enabled public safety report: Harnessing the power of tech to tackle violent crime. You can access the full report here.

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