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dc.contributor.authorBelghith, Yasmineen
dc.date.accessioned2021-06-22T08:01:06Zen
dc.date.available2021-06-22T08:01:06Zen
dc.date.issued2021-06-21en
dc.identifier.othervt_gsexam:31457en
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10919/103944en
dc.description.abstractInvestigations are increasingly conducted online by not only novice sleuths but also by professionals -- in both competitive and collaborative environments. These investigations rely on publicly available information, called open source intelligence (OSINT). However, due to their online nature, OSINT investigations often present coordination, technological, and ethical challenges. Through semi-structured interviews with 14 professional OSINT investigators from nine different organizations, we examine the social collaboration and competition patterns that underlie their investigations. Instead of purely competitive or purely collaborative social models, we find that OSINT organizations employ a combination of both, and that each has its own advantages and disadvantages. We also describe investigators' use of and challenges with existing OSINT tools. Finally, we conclude with a discussion on supporting investigators' with more appropriable tools and making investigations more social.en
dc.format.mediumETDen
dc.publisherVirginia Techen
dc.rightsIn Copyrighten
dc.rights.urihttp://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC/1.0/en
dc.subjectInvestigationsen
dc.subjectOpen Source Intelligenceen
dc.subjectCompetitionen
dc.subjectSelf-organizingen
dc.subjectCrowdsourcingen
dc.titleThe Social Structures of OSINT: Examining Collaboration and Competition in Open Source Intelligence Investigationsen
dc.typeThesisen
dc.contributor.departmentComputer Scienceen
dc.description.degreeMaster of Scienceen
thesis.degree.nameMaster of Scienceen
thesis.degree.levelmastersen
thesis.degree.grantorVirginia Polytechnic Institute and State Universityen
thesis.degree.disciplineComputer Science and Applicationsen
dc.contributor.committeechairLuther, Kurten
dc.contributor.committeememberKavanaugh, Andrea L.en
dc.contributor.committeememberNorth, Christopher L.en
dc.description.abstractgeneralInvestigations are increasingly conducted online by not only novice investigators but also by professionals, such as private investigators or law enforcement agents. These investigations are conducted in competitive environments, such as Capture The Flag (CTF) events where contestants solve crimes and mysteries, but also in collaborative environments, such as teams of investigative journalists joining skills and knowledge to uncover and report on crimes and/or mysteries. These investigations rely on publicly available information called open source intelligence (OSINT) which includes public social media posts, public databases of information, public satellite imagery...etc. OSINT investigators collect and authenticate open source intelligence in order to conduct their investigations and synthesize the authenticated information they gathered to present their findings. However, due to their online nature, OSINT investigations often present coordination, technological, and ethical challenges. Through semi-structured interviews with 14 professional OSINT investigators from nine different organizations, we examine how these professionals conduct their investigations, and how they coordinate the different individuals and investigators involved throughout the process. By analyzing these processes, we can discern the social collaboration and competition patterns that enable these professionals to conduct their investigations. Instead of purely competitive or purely collaborative social models, we find that OSINT organizations employ a combination of both, and that each has its own advantages and disadvantages. In other words, professional OSINT investigators compete with each other but also collaborate with each other at different stages of their investigations or for different investigative tasks. We also describe investigators' use of and challenges with existing OSINT tools and technologies. Finally, we conclude with a discussion on supporting investigators with tools that can adapt to their different needs and investigation types and making investigations more social.en


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