course number instructor title
CS 5984 K Luther Open Source Intelligence Lab

In this course, students will learn

  1. how to conduct effective, ethical Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) investigations in domains such as journalism, national security, and human rights; and
  2.  how to develop and evaluate new OSINT tools to address real-world needs.

Students will learn fundamental skills for OSINT collection and analysis, especially for social media data, including ethics and security, discovery, verification, preservation, and publication. Students will form teams to build an OSINT tool that fulfills a real-world need. Students will hone their OSINT investigation skills and refine their software tool through participation in several team-based Capture the Flag (CTF) events.

OSINT refers to the collection and analysis of publicly available data sources — including the internet, mass media, specialized publications, photos, and geospatial data — for investigative purposes. As human communication and behavior is increasingly digitally mediated, e.g., via social media, smartphones, and IOT devices, OSINT is now widely recognized and practiced as a core component of data science across the public and private sectors, including national security, law enforcement, journalism, and human rights advocacy. OSINT analysts verify breaking news and combating disinformation, monitor international weapons development, locate suspected terrorists and victims of human trafficking, and document war crimes, among much else.

  1. Background: History, foundations, ethics, security

  2. OSINT Techniques: Discovery, verification, preservation, publication

  3. Tool Development: Needfinding, development, testing, deployment

  4. Tool Evaluation: Study design, data collection, analysis, presentation

  5. Teamwork: Leadership, project management, collaboration, competition


Prerequisites: None, but prior experience with web application development and/or social media will be helpful.