What is OSINT?

OSINT is an acronym for Open Source Intelligence.



The UK National Police Chief's Council (NPCC) has defined OSINT as, "publicly available information (ie, any member of the public could lawfully obtain the information by request or observation). It includes books, newspapers, journals, TV and radio broadcasts, newswires, internet www and newsgroups, mapping, imagery, photographs, commercial subscription databases and grey literature (conference proceedings and institute reports)".

The US Department of Defense and the Director of National Intelligence both define OSINT as, "produced from publicly available information that is collected, exploited, and disseminated in a timely manner to an appropriate audience for the purpose of addressing a specific intelligence requirement."



In 2017, a UK law enforcement officer, Detective Chief Inspector Peter Lloyd (now retired), explained how policing techniques moved away from collecting traditional “Open Source” information to a new “Internet Investigations and Intelligence” capability, with the skills to match the digital age.

III, also known as i3, is gaining traction as an alternative name for OSINT, particularly within UK Public Authorities. i3 should not be confused with these profiling tools.



In the sections of this website that relate to services we provide to Law Enforcement Agencies & wider Public Authorities, III is prepended to (OSINT).
This is because many, but not all, law enforcement OSINT practitioners in the UK, consider themselves to be Internet Investigations & Intelligence (III) practitioners.
A minority of UK practitioners continue to defer to OSINT as the subject matter, as do hundreds of thousands of law enforcement officers that do not reside in the UK.
The use of III (OSINT) is our attempt to be inclusive and understood.

Also, III (OSINT) is used in the Axeten training material.



www.uk-osint.net hundreds of links to on-line and publicly available resources.



Investigators that do not have an 'intelligence' or other law enforcement background, might use the term "Internet investigation".