I’ve known Ran Hock for close to twenty years, and now that Mary Ellen Bates (MEB) and Reva Basch are retired (see their last books below), Ran is more or less the last man standing in the independent information brokerage domain, at least that I know. Arno Reuser, the genius librarian and top Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) pioneer in Europe still tells me that just listening to Ran Hock once a year (he was always the pre-conference to my conference) made him appear to be the most intellegent searcher in his organization for another year…Arno was being modest, he is his own pioneer, but the point is important. Ran Hock remains the one person I would consider essential for training a cadre to make proper use of the Internet.
Dr. Ran Hock has done more than any single individual to educate both government and private sector parties with respect to the value of the deep web. He has single-handedly trained hundreds of individuals in the nuances of this major new intelligence resource base. Emphasizing individual analytic skills and common sense rather than arcane expensive and generally unproductive technologies, he represents the intersection of integrity, intelligence, and intuition in the service of all legitimate governments and organizations.
The blurb from Arno Reuser, founder and chief of the Dutch military open source intelligence division, says essentially that attending Ran Hock’s course once a year made him look smart for the entire year. Arno is a master librarian and a giant in the field, he is being modest, but this is the kind of praise that Ran Hock’s earns from the “best of the best.”
The future of Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) is Multinational, Multifunctional, Multidisciplinary, Multidomain Information-Sharing & Sense-Making (M4IS2).
The following, subject to the approval of Executive and Congressional leadership, are suggested hueristics (rules of thumb):
Rule 1: All Open Source Information (OSIF) goes directly to the high side (multinational top secret) the instant it is received at any level by any civilian or military element responsive to global OSINT grid. This includes all of the contextual agency and mission specific information from the civilian elements previously stove-piped or disgarded, not only within the US, but ultimately within all 90+ participating nations.
Rule 2: In return for Rule 1, the US IC agrees that the Department of State (and within DoD, Civil Affairs) is the proponent outside the wire, and the sharing of all OSIF originating outside the US IC is at the discretion of State/Civil Affairs without secret world caveat or constraint. OSIF collected by US IC elements is NOT included in this warrant.
Fortunately, most librarians have gotten used to the fact that the Internet is a tremendous boon to researchers and that free information is a fantastic idea. Sure, we haven’t yet reallocated our organizational resources to recognize this fact—our staff time is much more likely to be devoted to acquiring and messing about with purchased information than in making good information from our archives, our labs, or the web more easily available. [Emphasis added.]
We need to separate our value—the way we curate information, champion its availability in the face of intolerance of unpopular ideas and economic disparity, and create conditions for learning how to find and use good information—from the amount of money it takes to acquire stuff on the not-so-open market. We need to be quite clear that good information is good information, no matter how it’s funded. And we need to find creative ways to partner with those who add value to information and find sustainable models for the editorial work that can make good academic work better.