The presence of easily accessible public records is one of the most crucial tools for private investigators in the digital era. While the information available to the public hasn’t significantly changed, the process of obtaining it has undergone a remarkable transformation. What once required countless hours of sifting through physical documents can now be accomplished with just a few clicks, thanks to the availability of digital resources. The task of mining data has become faster and simpler, eliminating the need for private investigators to even leave their offices in certain instances.
Our OSINT Intelligence Division (OID) is lead by a court recognized expert on Social Media with global investigative experience. He is a 28 year veteran of the Vancouver Police Department with 12 of those years being spent in the Technological Crimes Unit.
Public Records and Open-Source Intelligence (OSINT)
Public records, also known as OSINT (Open-Source Intelligence), encompass publicly accessible data. Traditionally, this data was obtained from newspapers and other publications. However, in today’s digital landscape, it can also be gathered from public social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. It is important to note that the availability of data is not solely dependent on technology but also on the investigative strategy employed by private investigators. Knowing where to search and how to filter data to extract the most relevant information is key.
The Advantages of Using Public Records for Gathering Intelligence
Using public records to gather intelligence offers several advantages, making the process faster, more efficient, cost-effective, and easier. Here are some reasons why public records are invaluable:
- Cost-effectiveness: Public records provide highly valuable information at a fraction of the effort and cost. Uncovering that a potential business partner is a scammer, for instance, can save you time, money, and future headaches.
- Legitimate and reliable data: Investigating with public records ensures that the information obtained can be easily verified, making it legitimate and reliable. Checking someone’s identity, claims, employment history, or achievements becomes straightforward and legally permissible.
- Gateway to additional data sources: Public records often act as a gateway, leading to other useful sources of information. For example, discovering someone’s military service through a publicly available record can guide you on where to look next for further details.
- Discretion: An investigation can be effectively carried out using public records alone, eliminating the need for surveillance or interviews. Almost everything can be conducted discreetly and securely online.
- Revealing discrepancies and biases: Public records make it easier to identify patterns that may indicate biases or discrepancies in the information available. Some data may be recorded with specific agendas in mind, which becomes more evident when publicly accessible.
Harnessing the Power of Public Records
Accessing open-source intelligence sources is legal, although not all sources are free and may require a purchase or subscription. Nevertheless, the valuable information obtained often justifies any associated fees. The challenge lies in determining which information is relevant and useful for a particular case or purpose. This is where the expertise of a private investigator becomes invaluable. Conducting targeted searches and extracting pertinent data requires specialized knowledge and training. If you want to know how we can use OSINT to work for you, we can help. Contact us at Haywood Hunt today.