Eliot Higgins (2021)
The history of a still-evolving open-source intelligence collective.
Intelligence collection and analysis used to be limited to governments and a handful of companies. Not any longer: the tools are available on the open internet. Eliot Higgins realises that he can use them to investigate news stories, including the shooting-down of MH-17 over Ukraine. It’s this investigation, in which he and his volunteer analysts manage to argue convincingly that the culprits were Russian-backed separatists using Russian anti-aircraft missiles, that really demonstrates how much information can now be found and cross-corollated. The result is for formation of Bellingcat, an amorphous group of international investigators organised in a way that closely resembles that of an open-source software project, where all that matters is an individuals’ ability and willingness to share findings, and to have them challenged and possibly refuted in the search for the best explanations.
The book was written before the Russian attack on Ukraine, and so will demand a follow-up given Bellingcat’s deep involvement in tracking the conflict and digging-into the details of individual incidents.
5/5. Finished Thursday 16 June, 2022.
(Originally published on Goodreads.)