Putting Paliscope to the ultimate test: You, the user.
When we designed Paliscope to help make online investigations (OSINT) faster, easier and more secure, we were confident that we’d delivered on that promise. But, of course, it’s not about us – what really matters is what our users think. Here we get the bottom line from Lars Underbjerg, one of our alpha testers.
Thank you for taking the time, Lars. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background?
I worked for the Danish police for 30 years, and most of this was spent as a detective in an organized crime unit. The last decade of my career was as part of the National High-tech Crime Unit, dealing with online child sexual abuse cases and victim identification.
I left the police six years ago and now manage security for television broadcasters in the Nordic countries, where I enforce their intellectual property rights.
How much of your work is spent conducting OSINT?
Almost all my time. Maybe 70 or 80 percent of my time, I’d say. Either investigating specific cases or monitoring and collecting intelligence to start off investigations.
You’ve had the opportunity to preview Paliscope. What was your first impression and what did you most like about it?
My first impression was that it is a very professional application that gives investigators the possibility to collect and manage data in a very structured way. I like the way it helps investigators collect data, and through that process get help from the application to secure evidence. If they didn’t have Paliscope, they might not have saved that crucial piece of information that could determine the outcome of the case.
How about the reports created in Paliscope? Can you compare that with how open source intelligence investigators currently do it?
Currently, investigators end up with a pile of information they cannot structure. The way Paliscope does it, when you have collected a lot of information, means you can organize and set it up in a very chronological way. So you end up with a report that lays out the essential parts of your investigation to proceed to court, make a civil case or whatever it is. It’s very structured plus there is the audit log so you can be sure you will be able to document what you have covered and also what you haven’t covered.
What is the most beneficial thing about Paliscope for online investigators like you?
Right now, I think it is the functionality of how you collect information on events, people and locations. You can identify and collect data – and you can connect the data you have with each other. I think that is a very neat feature.
What do you think will be most useful in the future?
It will be the way even a less experienced investigator can – with Paliscope and the user community’s help – plan and set up an investigation so they cover all the steps that are needed in one specific area. For example, if I investigate a new website I need to secure the source code, I need to secure the complete web page, I need to collect information about the metadata related to the website, like hosting information and who registered the web page.
Which professions could run faster, easier and more secure online investigations with Paliscope?
Oh, that could be a lot of fields. Law enforcement, insurance companies … companies that do background checks on people, law firms, you name it. Any company that has the need to collect data – and structure and document it afterwards – will benefit from using Paliscope.
It seems that OSINT is being used everywhere – even with the security work you do for TV companies which seems like a small niche.
That’s true, but really in the end it’s all about collecting information and identifying events, people or locations, and being able to document this. And it doesn’t matter whether it is a niche or a more common job in this respect – everyone will end up collecting a lot of data you then need to structure so that it’s useful. Any kind of footprint on the Internet that needs to be secured could benefit.