The March meetup in Nairobi offered a hands-on OSINT training for investigative journalism.
The March edition of Hacks/Hackers Nairobi was a real treat. We were joined by BBC Africa Eye’s Aliaume Leroy and Benjamin Strick, who led a training session on the tools that they use to produce compelling investigative stories for Africa Eye.
Aliaume Leroy is an open source investigative journalist with the Africa Investigations unit of BBC World Service, and Benjamin Strick is an open-source investigator for the BBC. Together, they have worked on incredible, relevant Africa Eye productions such as Anatomy of a Killing and Sudan’s Secret Hit Squads.
The training began with a hands-on tutorial on how to use Google Maps and Google Earth to geolocate videos. This can be done simply by studying and identifying names/features in videos and images that are shared online via social media.
Participants were also introduced to Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) tools like IntelTechniques and StalkScan. These tools show just how easily one can chrono-locate a person and map out their associates online - making us all realise just how much of our “private” data is actually easily available to people with the right tools.
Keep an eye out for Nairobi’s May meetup on our Facebook page.
The worlds of hackers and journalists are coming together, as reporting goes digital and Internet companies become media empires.
Journalists call themselves “hacks,” someone who can churn out words in any situation. Hackers use the digital equivalent of duct tape to whip out code.
Hacker-journalists try and bridge the two worlds. Hacks/Hackers Africa aims to bring all these people together — those who are working to help people make sense of our world. It’s for hackers exploring technologies to filter and visualise information, and for journalists who use technology to find and tell stories. In the age of information overload and collapse of traditional business models for legacy media, their work has become even more crucial.
Code for Africa, the continent’s largest #OpenData and civic technology initiative, recognises this and is spearheading the establishment of a network of HacksHackers chapters across Africa to help bring together pioneers for collaborative projects and new ventures.