Organizational Legitimacy and Open Source Intelligence

  • Lindsey R. Sheppard
Part of the Advanced Sciences and Technologies for Security Applications book series (ASTSA)


Technological developments of the modern era have brought the Intelligence Community (IC) to a transitional time in the intelligence space. Information and data are becoming increasingly available alongside increased access and ease in computational analysis capabilities. Outside of the IC and in the public realm, Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) products are those that are openly available to the general public and were produced using open source data and sources. OSINT products may include analysis from satellite imagery (GEOINT), ground images (IMINT), and statements or comments by humans (HUMINT), etc. Within the institution of OSINT analysis, non-governmental organizations are increasing their ability to inform and influence the public, including decision makers. While the increase in data and analysis capability is correlated with the increase in OSINT products, a causal relationship could not be detected. Instead, as public OSINT as an institution gains legitimacy, public OSINT organizations are gaining legitimacy. An investigation of organizational legitimacy, or the types of legitimacy organizations hold and how they build and manage legitimacy, reveals that technology is not the driver, but instead it is an enabling and supporting mechanism.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lindsey R. Sheppard
    • 1
  1. 1.Georgia Institute of TechnologyAtlantaUSA

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