The Guardian: From celebrity jets to Pelosi’s Taiwan trip, flight trackers are the sleeper hit of the summer. “Want to watch a top-secret government flight live? Track a drug kingpin’s movements in real time? Or know how much Taylor Swift’s jets are polluting the air? They’re all streaming live on the sleeper hit of the summer: online flight trackers.”
Indiana University Bloomington: New social media tools help public assess viral posts, check for bots. “The Observatory on Social Media, or OSoMe, at Indiana University has launched three new or revamped no-cost research tools to give journalists, other researchers and the public a broad view of what’s happening on social media.” They’re very Twitter-oriented and look like a lot of fun.
MakeUseOf: 12 Resourceful OSINT Tools You Should Know. “Carrying out open-source intelligence manually is no doubt a Herculean task. There are just too many records and data to go through. Thankfully, many tools have been created to automate and speed up the OSINT process. With these tools, you can get a lot of information about a particular organization and person in seconds.” Interesting mix. Annotation is a little thin so be prepared to explore.
NBC Sports: New Twitter account tracks Dan Snyder’s superyacht. “Commanders owner Dan Snyder, who possibly has opted to run out the clock with the House Oversight Committee by remaining on his superyacht through at least the November election or at most the commencement of the new Congress in January, cannot secure shelter from the prying eyes of social media. A new Twitter account tracks Snyder’s massive boat, the Lady S, wherever it may be.”
BBC: Tracking where Russia is taking Ukraine’s stolen grain. “There’s mounting evidence that Russian forces in occupied areas of Ukraine have been systematically stealing grain and other produce from local farmers. The BBC has talked to farmers and analysed satellite images and shipping data to track where the grain is going.”
The Guardian: Russian palaces, villas and yachts linked to Putin by email leak – in pictures, maps and video. “An investigation by the the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project and the news website Meduza has identified a group of 86 apparently unconnected companies or not for profit organisations that appear to hold over $4.5bn (£3.7bn) of assets where a common private email address, LLCInvest.ru, appears to be in use.”
New York Times: Tracking the War in Real Time. “In this conflict, the gains by either side can be small, and claims of captured territory can be difficult to verify. These are instances when the expertise of the [Institute for the Study of War] comes in handy. To better understand how these assessments come together — drawing on satellite images, orbiting heat sensors and social media — I spoke to Mason Clark, a team leader at the institute, and George Barros, one of its analysts.”
Rest of World: Meet the fact-checkers decoding Sri Lanka’s meltdown. “From protests to power cuts, Watchdog uses open source research to investigate Sri Lanka’s ongoing political and economic crisis.”
NPR: Open source intelligence methods are being used to investigate war crimes in Ukraine. “We’ve heard about so-called open-source intelligence for a few years now. It’s where publicly available information – things like satellite imagery, phone videos, social media – can be pieced together to reveal secrets about wars or threats. Now it’s being used to track down war crimes and war criminals in Ukraine. It is painstaking work carried out by an army of internet sleuths. NPR’s Deborah Amos reports from Berlin, where some of them are based.”
Business Insider: The teen who tracks Elon Musk’s jet has begun monitoring private jets for celebrities like Tom Cruise and Kim Kardashian. “Jack Sweeney, 19, said on Monday via Twitter that he had begun tracking four of Tom Cruise’s private jets under his Twitter account… The account has nearly 28,000 followers and also appears to track the travel patterns of several other celebrities, including Jay-Z, Taylor Swift, and Kim Kardashian.”
WIRED: Smartphones Blur the Line Between Civilian and Combatant. “AS RUSSIA CONTINUES its unprovoked armed aggression, reports from Ukraine note that the smartphones in civilians’ pockets may be ‘weapons powerful in their own way as rockets and artillery.’ Indeed, technologists in the country have quickly created remarkable apps to keep citizens safe and assist the war effort—everything from an air-raid alert app to the rapid repurposing of the government’s Diia app.”
Alliance for Securing Democracy: How Russia’s Leading Search Engine Spreads Kremlin Propaganda on Ukraine: Introducing ASD’s Yandex Dashboard . “To better understand Russia’s information environment, the Alliance for Securing Democracy developed a dashboard to show what a Russian citizen or a Russian language speaker outside Russia’s borders would see on the leading Russian language search engine and news aggregator Yandex.ru. ASD’s Yandex Dashboard catalogues the information and sources that Russian speakers encounter as part of general news consumption, as well as when actively seeking information about the war in Ukraine, through Yandex’s search engine.”
Poynter: This college ‘nerd’ investigates the Ukraine war from the digital front lines. “Until earlier this year, The Intel Crab, which has more than 250,000 followers and a reach in the tens of millions, was among the latter. But Justin Peden, a 20-year-old sophomore at the University of Alabama-Birmingham who only recently switched his major to journalism, revealed his identity earlier this year. ‘I’m no longer anonymous for one simple reason: I want to be held accountable for my work,’ Peden told me. ‘Both positively and negatively.'”
Coda Story: Social media companies are facing pressure to start archiving war crimes evidence. How will that work?. “Long before politicians caught on, Alexa Koenig, the executive director of the Human Rights Center at UC Berkeley, was working on how social media can be used as evidence in international courts — and how companies can do a better job of preserving it. In the report Digital Lockers: Archiving Social Media Evidence of Atrocity Crimes, Koenig and her team outlined how social media platforms can transform from ‘accidental and unstable archives for human rights content’ to vaults of evidence accessible to investigators and prosecutors. Going a step further, the team at the Human Rights Center created a framework for using digital open source information in international courts.”
WIRED: Open Source Intelligence May Be Changing Old-School War. “Open source intelligence is information that can be readily and legally accessed by the general public. It was used in war and diplomacy long before the internet—alongside information stolen or otherwise secretly obtained and closely held. But its prevalence today means what was once cost-prohibitive to many is now affordable to myriad actors, whether North Korea, the CIA, journalists, terrorists, or cybercriminals.”