VanIntel (Vancouver Intelligence) has been 20 years in the making. In 1998 I quickly realized the power of the Internet and began a life long journey of learning everything I could about OSINT (Open Source Intelligence) and SOCMINT (Social Media Intelligence).
Throughout my 28 year career in law enforcement, and now as a private investigator, I have come to appreciate the power of open source information as a critical investigative tool. In 2004, as a detective with Canada’s third largest police department, I was assigned to investigate online fraud and cyber crime. In 2006, while investigating West African online crime, I met up with a private investigator out of Texas by the name of Terrill Caplan. With Terrill’s assistance and his vast knowledge of West African and 419 advance fee fraud, combined with my computer and Internet investigative skill set, we were able to prevent hundreds of millions of dollars worth of global fraud. You can read a few of our disclosable successes under the Media Section. Since that time I have been involved in thousand of files involving the gathering, and dissemination, of open source information. Most organizations rely on that one person in the office who knows how to search Facebook and Google or, they purchase expensive software in the hopes that it “captures everything.” We know these tools don’t work because we have tested them. We call these tools, and those that use them, “push button investigators.”
At VanIntel we go far beyond this. We are continually researching unique tools, sites, links and scripts that successfully data mine the entire Internet – including the Dark Web. Yes, you can go around the Internet and find “bits and pieces” of information to help you but our response is:
- Have they captured all of the information?
- Is the information credible?
- What investigative experience do these people have?
- Have they used that experience in real world investigations?
- Have they had successful arrests and convictions?
- Have they been recognized at the local, national and international level for their investigations?
- Have they ever been declared a court expert witness in social media?
As well as working on my own private files I also train law enforcement, corporate and private investigators on how to conduct open source investigations.