This week I've launched the Kickstarter for my new website, Bellingcat, which I hope will solve one issue I've come across again and again. Often I've been invited to various events where people who have developed great tools and techniques for working with open source information have spoken in front of a crowd of eager journalists, activists, researchers, etc, who listen to the presentation, then go home and forget about it. With Bellingcat I'm trying to do something that will keep those people engaged with those tools and techniques, and also show others how to use them.
Bellingcat has contributors writing for the site on a variety of subjects, but all using open source information for their work. Over the last two years I've used open source information to investigate the conflict in Syria, but it's not just about conflict zones, with the OCCRP demonstrating the use of open source information to investigate cross-border crime and corruption.
I want to engage Bellingcat's contributors with the tools and techniques organisations like the OCCRP have developed, but also teach others how to use them. Along with news and analysis, Bellingcat has guides and case studies so anyone can learn the same techniques we've used in our investigations, creating new investigators.
We also plan to have ongoing projects which Bellingcat readers can get involved in, learning about tools and techniques while contributing to the projects in a meaningful way. In the coming weeks I hope to provide information about these projects, and how Bellingcat readers can get involved.
Bellingcat is as much about the readers as it is the contributors. We only have to look at what's happening with Ukraine and Gaza to see why it's important to understand open source information and why verification is important. If you agree, then please donate to the Bellingcat Kickstarter.