Ref. Ares(2015)2829683 - 06/07/2015
Joint Research Centre - Ispra Site
Mission No: OM-15-1078885
Object of the m ss on
Present our work at the Open Sources Working Together Conference, organised
by the National Crime Agency (NCA, UK) and DG HOME
P ace, date, organ zat ons v s ted and contacted persons (Please continue on a separate sheet, if necessary)
, NCA UK
National Crime Agency (NCA),
London, United Kingdom
Participants of the conference (see appendix)
Other Part c pants
D str but on L st
Of the establishment
Other services of the
Obligatory(*) + Messrs.
[adresse e-mail] (*), JRC
GlobeSec Unit, JRC [adresse e-mail]
For sensitive mission reports, distribution must only be
only to persons indicated by (*) and relevant staff
members of the GlobeSec Unit
Ma n Resu ts of the m ss on: (Please attach as many separate sheets as necessary)
Open Sources Working Together Conference
The “Open Sources Working Together” was hosted at the National Crime Agency in London.
In the past years, the JRC has worked with DG HOME to improve the state of play of using publicly
available information sources (Open Source Intelligence – OSINT) for law enforcement and security
applications. The JRC has developed powerful software tools, such as the EMM family of applications
which it makes available to public authorities and international institutions across Europe and globally.
In addition, DG HOME and the JRC host a yearly OSINT event (“EMM OSINT Workshop”) which
brings together practitioners from law enforcement and other authorities (esp. Tax and Customs). In
these events, participants share best practices in the use of OSINT tools and technologies and engage in
hands on exercises to test the practical application of tools. The discussion of OSINT matters with MS
officials at these and other events has led DG HOME and the JRC to the conclusion that the OSINT
community needs further strengthening and especially the aspect of “working together” between
authorities across services and countries needs a forum. The Open Sources Working Together
Conference is the first of a series of events to foster the collaboration across Europe in OSINT matters.
The goal is to institutionalise – under the leadership of DG HOME- a network of excellence in the field
of Open Source Intelligence.
In the following, we want to highlight selected aspects of the different presentations.
After an introduction to the conference by
(DG HOME), the first day started with a presentation of JRC’s EMM media monitoring suite that was
well received by the participants.
of the Kent and Essex Police gave the second presentation. He
explained how his police district created an Open Source unit and which tools and trainings where
necessary. The British Police has developed a competence framework to put OSINT related activities
into different categories. These categories span from simple online research to covert investigations and
are each supported by different trainings. This way police officers develop necessary expertise in a
In the afternoon of the first day,
, a research director of the Centre for the Analysis of Social
Media (CASM) at Demos (a London based think-tank1), gave a talk about his work in analysing social
coined the term “SOCMINT” social media intelligence to derive intelligence from social
talked about methods and technology to study how social media informs politics and
demonstrated some case studies such as the work he did for the 2015 General Election.
The first day ended by discussing the challenges OSINT practitioners have to deal with, such as a
plethora of tools, fast moving changes of internet services, such as social media.
On the second day of the conference,
gave a presentation on what he sees as
the ethical issues and leadership challenges for authorities conducting OSINT investigations. Important
topics were the important balance between harnessing the potential of big data versus ethics to avoid
problems with the acceptance in the public image.
Different delegate presentations gave some insights into the practical work of investigators and
authorities. A police officer of the German Federal Criminal Office BKA talked about how their daily
work is organised and what the mission is. e also explained the severe budget limitations they face
because in his opinion the authority’s management does not understand what value internet
investigations and the use of public sources can deliver.
underlined this observation with some
recent cases from Germany.
The JRC demonstrated the EMM OSINT Suite desktop tool kit that was developed with the help of DG
HOME for law enforcement purposes.
A panel picked up the topics brought forward by
and discussed the ethical challenges of
using publicly available information. Here again, the aspect on how authorities’ can keep the backing
of their work by politics and the public was discussed extensively.
1 See http://www.demos.co.uk and http://www.demos.co.uk/people/
2 See https://www.hope.ac.uk/staff/
The conference continued with three case studies and a presentation of the National Crime Agency’s
own work in the domain of OSINT:
presented the Metropolitan Police’s monitoring of public sources. An interesting
point was how this service has evolved over time from a part time activity to a now 24/7 on-duty unit.
presented their own activities of the Scottish Police and the National
Crime Agency respectively. Their units are quite similar in scope and mission but have slightly
different legal frameworks.
The last presentation was by
of the National Domestic Extremism&Disorder Intelligence
presented some results obtained via social media monitoring using 2 commercial products,
Cosain and RepKnight.
Observations and Contacts
It is interesting to see that the OSINT topic is now reaching a broad range of authorities. Participants
came mostly from classical law enforcement authorities, but also tax and customs officials were
present. Even though the legal frameworks and missions of the different authorities may vary, but the
core challenges such as the rapidly evolving social media services remain the same.
It is quite encouraging to see that DG HOME together with the JRC has identified this trend very early
on. When the collaboration between the two Commission DGs first started, such a conference could
possibly not have taken place because there was probably a lack of understanding of the importance of
this domain. This has clearly changed in the last few years and more and more law enforcement
authorities give OSINT a much higher priority now.
During the conference, we discussed our own tools with a variety of participants and they were quite
interested to evaluate the JRC’s offerings (namely: BKA, Romanian Intelligence Service, Metropolitan
Police and Scottish Police).
Provide interested parties with material and evaluation version of our software
Collaborate with DG HOME on the next event planned tentatively for February 2016