International conference: « OPEN SOURCE & SOCIAL MEDIA INTELLIGENCE»

6 December 2013 -  Royal Military School, Brussels

Every day, we are bombarded with information about a variety of issues: a new scientific discovery, the latest cyber attack, or reports about the use of chemical weapons in Syria. All this information is made available to the general public through sources in the public domain. Within the intelligence community, this public domain is also exploited: it is called open source intelligence (OSINT).

The domain of open sources entails, among others, official documents, newspaper articles, multimedia broadcasting services, but also data derived from websites and social media platforms.

This avalange of information becomes even more gigantic by the millions of individual people that share with us the details of their personal lives and exploits by using social media. This information that is sometimes of a very private nature is fully available trough the internet, visible for all and every purpose. Social media is hot. Most organizations and events have their own digital space, or are being discussed through social media. The phenomenon received a boost during, and in the aftermath of, the Arab Springs.

This conference will reflect on how intelligence services can collect and exploit information derived from open sources and social media. It will also raise your attention to certain challenges like perception management, cognitive and social biases, data overload, and required technologies. The conference will also provide some practical examples on how social media can be used for intelligence purposes.

This conference features actors from Belgium, France, … and the United Kingdom, representing the intelligence community, the military and the academic domain.



Presidents: Patrick Leroy, Head Analysis, Military Intelligence and Security Service & Robin Libert, Director of Analysis, State Security Service

9h00:  Registration - coffee

9h30:  Opening of the conference by Mr. Guy Rapaille, Chairman of BISC, Chairman of the Standing Committee I (F)

9h40:  Introduction - Gen-Maj Eddy Testelmans, Head of Military Intelligence and Security Service (ACOS-IS) (N)

10h00: OSINT: Sensors & Sense making  - Mr Johan Truyens, Military Intelligence and Security Service (ACOS-IS) (N)
The handouts of this presentation will be available on this website as from December 16th 2013.

10h30: OSINT Education at Belgian Defence - Adj. Chef Geert Nijs, Teacher at the Belgian Intelligence & Security School (N)

11u00: Coffee break

11h30: Case studies highlighting the value of real time open source data for day to day policing: John Reid, Founder and CEO of RepKnight and steering committee member for the Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT) (E)

11h45: Risk mapping: Forecasting political and security risks in the year ahead: Lucy Jones, Control Risks (E)

12h30: Lunch at the atrium

13h30: Introducing social media intelligence: Carl Miller, Centre for the Analysis of social media, DEMOS, UK (E)
For references of papers of Mr Miller: see below.

14h30: Coffee break

15h00:  Production of knowledge: Claude Lepère, Founder of I-Cube (F)

15h30:  Social business for intelligence​: John Palfreyman, IBM (E)

16h00: Discussion and Q & A, with the speakers and with Ms Erika Mann, Facebook, Managing Director & Head of Brussels Office, moderated by Prof. dr. Marc Cools, Free University of Brussels & Ghent University (N-F-E)

16h30: Conclusions by Prof. dr. Marc Cools, Free University of Brussels & Ghent University (N)

16h45: Drink at the atrium


All Carl Miller's papers are freely available on his profile.

For social media intelligence: 

#intelligence - 

Policing in an Information Age: 

The State of the Art: A Literature Review of social media intelligence capabilities for counter-terrorism: 

and Introducing Social Media Intelligence (SOCMINT):


BISC members

Marc Cools, University of Ghent and Free University of Brussels
Emmanuel Debruyne, Catholic University of Louvain-la-Neuve
André Dumoulin, ret., State Security Service
Frank Franceus, Standing Commitee I
Patrick Leroy, General Intelligence and Security Service
André Lemaître, University of Liège
Robin Libert, State Security Service
Veerle Pashley, Free University of Brussels
Guy Rapaille, Standing Commitee I
Maj Alain Segers, School for Intelligence and Security
David Stans, University of Liège
Gen-Maj Eddy Testelmans, General Intelligence and Security Service
Alain Winants, State Security Service



Defence personnel  - members of the intelligence and security services – academic personnel and students (criminology, political sciences, historians) – Police personnel – Political representatives – Personnel of Administrations and Ministerial cabinets – Members of the Public services – Economic and industrial community - Press


Contact BISC

Belgian Intelligence Studies Centre BISC - A division of the Belgian Centre for Police studies (CPS)

Contact person: Nathalie Roegiers, Pacificatielaan 27, B-9000 Gent

Tel: 0032 (0)9 223.24.11, email: 



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