Open-source information is the unclassified processed information by individuals and organizations but can be accessed by people via the available ethical and legal means. Roger (1998, p.15-30) claims that most of the information is availed by the media, the internet, professional journals and newsletters, gray literature, information service providers, and libraries.
This information is not necessarily supposed to be publications but could as well be information that other professionals can avail to us. In addition to these their information is considered to be accurate and up-to-date in comparison with the other sources of information (Atkin, 1998, p. 3).
Many emerging trends in the world prompt us to change the way we access information to enable us to get the best. Since the criminal world is fast-changing, it is advisable that we also try to use the information to ensure that things are running smoothly. Watson (1998, p.5) is of the view that we need to ensure that things are done faster and effectively. We expect rigidity from some people who would want things to be the way they were. However, we should try and transform our sources of information.
There is possibly some strength in using information from open sources. When we get the right information, we are also in a position to plan properly. This helps us to make the right decisions about the solutions. In the process, we are able to know where to find information and also be better versed with our surroundings. Law enforcers have in the past only relied on government sources to get information. This has led to the underutilization of information.
On the contrary, this new approach to information can provide more crucial findings even from outside sources. There is the ability to have a tactical crime analysis and through expanded information, we are able to study criminal organizations and their other related crime activities (Wardlaw, 1998, p.3). Dudgeon (1998,p.7) further adds that information obtained is very helpful in strategic analysis of the crime trends in both the national arena and outside as there are vast sources by which we can refer to.
Another improvement is that it presents with it another rare opportunity for increased inter-agency understanding of how they can share their targets together which will increase efficiency in handling crime. We can use information from open sources to orient the Judges and attorneys’ to the new emerging trends and in the process increase their flexibility. It is easy to interdict drug operations as through open sources like the internet we are able to study the routes and relations of the various criminals.
Open-source information has a good capability to develop professionals as they will be able to get unrestrictive information; through this, they are able to devise the best ways possible to handle their jobs. In addition to these, there is a provision towards a better understanding of the immigrant communities. This is more so on how they provide cover for their respective criminal organizations. Since information is the power it is very easy to monitor various radical groups that may not have been understood, if we had mostly relied on government information that is most restrictive (Howard, 1989, p.2).
Although this new approach to information has been good, nonetheless, certain shortcomings come along with it. For example, there is no secrecy as information is shared openly. Sometimes, concerns on legislation have also hampered accessibility to information. Because information is accessible to everyone, there have been security and financial implications as there is biases and distortion of information.
Atkin, H, N. (1998). Keeping It Simple: A Practitioners Approach to Applying the Intelligence Process, From Formulating Premises to Recommendations. Richmond: International Association of Law Enforcement Intelligence Analysts (IALEIA)
Dudgeon, I. (1998). Does Covert Intelligence Have a Future? Canberra: Australian Defense Studies Centre.
Roger, P. (1998). Enhancing Traditional Criminal Intelligence Operations: Proposal for a Central Open Source Intelligence Support Concept. Canberra: Australian Institute of Professional Intelligence Officers.
Wardlaw, G. (1998). When Too Much Information is barely enough? Open Source Information and the Office of Strategic Crime Assessments. Canberra: Australian Institute of Professional Intelligence Officers.
Watson, N. (1998). Open Source Information in Law Enforcement: Optimizing Open Source Information Conference. Canberra: Australian Defense Studies Centre.