There aren’t an awful lot of movies or series where open source investigations play a major role, but I did manage to find some. So in case you want to spend some time watching something nice during the holidays, here are my personal recommendations.
Searching is a unique movie, where the whole story is being told via computer screens, news broadcasts, security cams and mobile apps. It tells the story of a father (great role by John Cho) that is searching for his lost daughter. And quite a bit of different OSINT topics are shown, like connecting social media, reverse image search and geolocation. I really enjoyed the way the movie was told and even though it’ll never be one of the best movie I’ve ever seen, I really did enjoy the narrative and I’m sure you’ll love it too!
Don’t f**k with cats (2019)
This Netflix original is a mini series that came online in December 2019 and tells the story about how internet sleuths tracked down a cat killer, soon to be murderer. This is not a movie, but a documentary about real events that unfolded during the years that people were trying to find Luka Magnotta, the person who was eventually caught and found guilty of murder. After seeing the first episode of an hour, I didn’t understand how much more time Netflix needed to tell the story, but soon found out it only just started.
I do want place a warning: Do not watch this series if you may not be able to handle cruelty towards animals, or feel uncomfortable viewing small parts of a snuff movie.
I’m not easily offended or touched, but since this is a documentary, there will be real emotions about real events, and they might get to you! Not the most happy tip for the holidays, but a stunning and important story that is being shared!
This Polish series just released its second season! I’ve seen the first season and even though it’s way over the top and a bit far fetched at times, it’s a nice series to watch. It’s about a bunch of tech savvy internet sleuths that use their skills to solve crimes. It involves anything from open source investigations to hacking, and even though it’s not realistic, it’s a nice way to spend a couple of evenings on the couch.
Bellingcat - Truth in a Post-Truth World (2018)
I’ve had the pleasure of watching this movie in a theatre last year with Benjamin Strick, followed by a live interview. The documentary tells the story about how Bellingcat was started and shares some insight into the personal lives of some of its members. This award winning documentary is still shown in theatres all over the world, but if you aren’t able to watch it live, there might still be some options to watch it on demand or via a broadcaster that posted it online. You may just have to do some OSINT work to find it somewhere…
The Great Hack (2019)
This isn’t really an OSINT movie, but still an important story for the OSINT community. It is a documentary about the Cambridge Analytica scandal that unfolded in the years 2015 to 2018, where huge amounts of data from Facebook users were indexed and used for targeted campaigns. This is one of the biggest scandals in regard to privacy issues of the recent years and well worth to view!
Happy holidays and have a wonderful and OSINTcurious 2020!