Some clients are curious about the difference between OSINT (Open Source Intelligence) and SOCMINT (Social Media Intelligence).

Agent Nakamura had a very succinct way of describing it, so the staff thought we should share it here.

“OSINT is the “Big Brother” or “Father” to SOCMINT.


OSINTとはオープンソースインテリジェンス(open source intelligence)の略称で、諜報活動の一環として、一般に公開されている利用可能な情報を収集し、分析する技術のこと。
SOCMINTはソーシャルメディアインテリジェンス(social media intelligence)の略称で、中村調査員曰く、



OSINT is everything that a Private Investigator can gather in the public domain. Much of it is from the internet, but paper records, photograph archives, old property deeds, newspaper microfiche, etc., are all considered OSINT.




SOCMINT is part of OSINT but requires a more refined skill set. SOCMINT is geared toward social media and therefore needs an investigator that can understand human behavior and relationships more than the OSINT-focused investigator that needs to know organizational structures primarily.





SOCMINT investigators tend to focus on not only what the POI (Person of Interest) is posting, but who their friends are relatives, and even places and people they like or have connected to at one time. From this spiderweb of social link analysis, the SOCMINT specialist can trace back data points that help answer questions bout the POIs’ behavior, history, and sometimes intent, even if the POI didn’t post it themselves.  Knowing the social media platforms’ ability and limitations is critical for a SOCMINT investigator as well.






For example, Facebook contains some data but not others, while another site might have information that Facebook omits. Special techniques are used by the skilled SOCMINT investigator to locate alternate profiles and “sock puppet” accounts across various social media platforms for the same POI.





This skill is useful in the traditional Private Investigator / Private Detective jobs but increasingly important in the growing field of corporate and organizational investigation for due diligence, fraud, and defamation investigations, where an employee or member has a fake persona and posts under that account.



In addition, finding the network that the POI might be working with can uncover a group working together to undermine and harm an organization.
So while SOCMINT is part of OSINT and can be investigated by a good OSINT trained PI, SOCMINT has some nuances that are helpful to know when doing detective work in that realm.”







There you have it. One of the most powerful tools in the kit box of a Private Investigator summed up quite nicely. – Al








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