According to our definition, OSINT is understood as the systematic collection, processing, analysis and production, classification and dissemination of information derived from sources openly available to and legally accessible by the public in response to particular government requirements serving national security.
Often enough though, OSINT is still regarded a “collection-only discipline”. While, organizationally, collection and analysis in most intelligence services are increasingly closing ranks, the general perception falls somewhat short of this development.
Already in 2007, Douglas Naquin, Director of the US Open Source Center (OSC), made his point to which we fully subscribe:
Analysis, now, is integral to every step of the exploitation process, so with so much information available, we can’t predetermine as much as we would do, say five or even ten years ago and say, we’re only going to collect this stuff and then we’ll figure out what we do with it based on what we collect. […]
So analysis, to us, has become integral to every step of the process for us. […]
So while many might still see open source primarily as a collection discipline, we have seen our value increasingly determined by what we do with the information at our disposal as much or more than by what we collect and give to others to figure out. The open source discipline, I think, is unique in that it is a full-service discipline, or we call it end-to-end, from collection to dissemination.