Pandora’s box of foolishness

Open-source intelligence is best defined as information that can be accessed and procured from public sources

Guess what, Facebook is a wonderful venue for open-source intelligence collection. This means that the college confessions pages on that same site make great places for hunting for information.

This is not to say that an intelligence collection agency like the CIA is actively spying on you and building a profile on where you work or what you like to eat. However, there is too much information that is disregardfully put on Facebook.

The anonymity of these confessions pages does not help in protecting information from falling into the wrong hands.

Not all confessions on these pages are true or even actual confessions. Some of them are comments designed to sow discord or generate drama.

These are not problems for those skilled in open-source intelligence collection and analysis.

Here’s the truth about collecting and analyzing information: you do not need to be trained by the CIA to do both. Nor do you have to buy and read a copy “Cyberstalking for Dunces” to find and best interpret the information carelessly posted on a confessions page.

There are blog posts and websites that explain how to collect and understand data, even if the sources are anonymous. There is software like Viper–a plagerizism checker–that can be used to determine who wrote something when compared to a work written by somebody you know.

These tools and the information on these blogs and sites can be used for obtaining information that was supposed to be kept secret among a few.

The cliche of “knowledge is power” holds true in regard to taking advantage of what information people freely leak on a confessions page.

The Internet is a great place to learn how to do open-source intelligence collection and analysis.

In light of the these details, somebody can dedicate time to regularly visit a college campus and learn about the students there. Then, the same individual could make a dossier on students he/she befriended or learned of.

The regular visitor knows about the school he/she visits and its students. He/she can gather and interpret the information he/she comes across on a confessions page.

This same person could take the time to figure out who posted which comment about whom.

The truth is that a few students at Cerritos Community College are able to know who are responsible for which comments and who are the subjects of a confession on their schools’ respective confessions pages.

How? They are “in the know” and are good at analyzing what they read.

The Israelite king Solomon wrote words of wisdom 3,000 years ago that best address this whole issue:

“In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin [there is not a lack of sin]: but he that refraineth his lips is wise….A prudent man concealeth knowledge: but the heart of fools proclaimeth foolishness….He that hath knowledge spareth his words…Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding” (Proverbs 10:19, 12:23, 17:27a-28).