Bellingcat started out from a blog Eliot opened as a hobby in 2011: the platform is now the world’s most renowned community of investigative, intelligence and online journalism. In this episode, Eliot explores with us the birth and growth of Bellingcat, its internal organization and its key research focuses.
Eliot Higgins, the founder and spokesperson for Bellingcat
How a blog turned into the strongest and biggest online investigation community
Particularly striking was witnessing Eliot’s intuitive ability to effectively combine open-source, easy-to-find tools, such as images, videos, social media pages, with geo-location and geo-mapping to create what is knowns as reference imagery. By exploiting these widely and publicly available pieces of information, the Bellingcat community specialized in investigating complex cases in an extra-ordinary and definitely out-of-the-box way.
Bellingcat’s palmarès and its somewhat complex relations with public entities
Eliot shared with us his view over some of the most high-profile cases Bellingcat successfully embarked on, such as the MH17 Malaysian Airlines flight crash in Ukraine back in 2014, the Lybian scenario in 2011, the Syrian conflict, the UK phone hacking scandal in 2012, up to the Lega Nord case and the Miroslava project.
We then dealt with a thorny but inevitable side of Bellingcat’s investigative commitment: the complex ties with law enforcement agencies, national governments, police and state entities which, from showing a pro-society collaborative approach, can quickly initiate a harsh and open denounce of the online community investigative practices and role.
Eliot was brilliantly clear in demonstrating how his community can prove the truthfulness, authenticity and accuracy of their extra-ordinary investigations, while keeping at bay every conspiracy theory and country propaganda that could hinder their investigation commitment and criticize their unique methodologies.
The Secure in Mind Project
Our mission is to greatly increase and encourage community discussion about technological and ethical issues that have done, are and will impact society on a global scale.
There is a longstanding and distinct disconnect between the way information is packaged and presented to the public and the effectiveness of this presentation in terms of generating informed, considered debate.
If we can take complex, important topics and present them, as best we can, in a manner that can interests people from outside the speciality, then we have surpassed our expectations.
Nick Kelly Bio
Nick is someone who, in many senses, is just like you: a human being trying to make sense of this existence of ours as we hurtle around a ball of gas in a sea of infinite eternity. More relevant though are his vacillations in the world amongst diverse countries and environments, collaborating, negotiating, elaborating and celebrating with fascinating people from all walks of life including politics, technology, activism, military and intelligence the world over.
He brings this unique breadth of perspective to the table and has a dogged interest in pursuing the human story behind the title or policy, appreciating the fact that underneath all of our bravado, political correctness and dichotomous states of creation and destruction, we are, after all, merely mortals trying to make the best of it.
The production cost of this episode of ‘Secure in Mind’ was supported by aizoOn Technology Consulting.
aizoOn is a global technology consulting company focused on innovation. Since the digital economy requires new visions, technologies and organisational models, we have taken the eco-system approach. Through this attitude, innovation happens through a co-creation process involving government agencies, individuals, public and private entities.
What this boils down to is that we use data and brains to drastically increase efficiencies, reduce waste, consolidate technology security and cyber postures and train the next generation of the top tech force.
If you want to passively and effectively identify hackers in your network, require project management on your space programme or even need a chemical scientist to solve a supply chain issue in your bottling plant, give us a call!