Future Challenges and Requirements for Open Source Intelligence

Results from a Horizon Scanning Exercise

  • Petra Saskia Bayerl CENTRIC
  • Babak Akhgar
  • Alice Raven
  • Helen Gibson
  • Tony Day
Keywords: Open Source Intelligence, OSINT, police investigation, Artificial Intelligence, horizon scanning, organisational recommendations


Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) is a well-established,  time-  and  resource-efficient  method  in  modern-day  policing.  At  the  same  time,  OSINT  is  not  immune  from  technological,  legal  and societal developments that affect the ways and contexts in which it operates. This paper examines  the  key  challenges  and  requirements  that  OSINT  as  a  policing  capability  needs  to  address to remain viable long-term. The results are based on a horizon scanning exercise con-ducted  with  operationally  active  OSINT-investigators  across  eight  countries.  Findings  identify  core  application  areas,  new  capabilities  and  essential  innovations.  Results  further  define  the  organisational, ethical and legal requirements enabling the integration of Artificial Intelligence into OSINT-investigations as well as the handling of ‘bad actors’ and citizens’ increasing privacy concerns. Collectively, the results provide vital guidance for police organisations and policy makers for future investments into OSINT-tools and practices.

How to Cite
Bayerl, P., Akhgar, B., Raven, A., Gibson, H., & Day, T. (2022). Future Challenges and Requirements for Open Source Intelligence. European Law Enforcement Research Bulletin, 22, 21-38. Retrieved from https://bulletin.cepol.europa.eu/index.php/bulletin/article/view/526