The team at Praescient is always eager to find new ways to leverage the many sources of data increasingly available online. We were excited to have the opportunity to describe some of our work in this regard at the recent DC Open Analytics Summit sponsored by IKANOW. At the event, Praescient Vice President Bill Wall and Law Enforcement Team Lead Sam Kremin delivered a live, updated version of the recorded investigations embedded below, which examine illicit shipping activities.
In his introductory remarks, Bill cited the influential 2010 CNAS “Fixing Intel” report by current DIA Director LTG Michael Flynn, which noted that “the Cold War notion that open source information is ‘second class’ is a dangerous, outmoded cliché.” To demonstrate the point, Praescient’s presentation at the summit drew upon data from a range of open sources:
- www.marinetraffic.com, which tracks and visualizes the positions of ships worldwide in real-time, drawing upon freely available Automatic Identification System (AIS) data transmitted by commercial ships (as mandated by the International Maritime Organization in 2004).
- www.equasis.org, an open database created and maintained by the European Commission and the French Maritime Administration to improve transparency among ship owners, cargo owners, insurers, classification societies, and port authorities.
- The Pakistani government’s customs information portal (www.pakcustoms.org), which includes shipping manifests, bills of lading, and other useful customs information.
- Press releases from Israel’s Ministry of Defense.
Praescient is confident that open source data collection, integration, and analysis will become increasingly central to many of our customers’ work in the national security and law enforcement communities. Stay tuned for more from Praescient on this problem-set in the months ahead!
Post by: Praescient’s Emerging Opportunities Team