The increased availability and lower cost of satellite imagery has made it accessible to civil society in recent years. While universities, think tanks, and nongovernmental organizations are racing ahead to incorporate this form of open-source intelligence (OSINT) into their regular research work, there are a number of unexamined areas that our team at the Open Nuclear Network (ONN) wanted to explore. Are open-source analysts facing ethical dilemmas? If they are, how are they resolved? What resources exist to support them to make such decisions?
The Stanley Center partnered with Open Nuclear Network as a leader in the geospatial and open-source analysis communities to explore how ethics could help govern open-source intelligence and safely extend the critical contributions it makes to creating a safer world. This article provides an overview of our joint work and the ongoing work ONN is doing to address ethical pitfalls in working with open-source information.