the home of online investigations

Category: Case Studies

November 21, 2018

By Benjamin Strick

Geolocation of Infrastructure Destruction in Cameroon: A Case Study of Kumbo and Kumfutu

Geolocation is crucial in open source investigations. In countries in conflict and/or countries under dictatorship, verifying evidence on the ground can be difficult. Video and photographic materials make it possible to have a working knowledge of events occurring out of reach — and it is always important to geolocate such materials. Cameroon, for example, has…

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November 8, 2018

By Daniel Romein

Europol’s Asian City Child Abuse Photographs Geolocated

Since 2017 the European Union Agency of Law Enforcement Cooperation, better known as Europol, has been crowdsourcing parts of or heavily censored photographs, related to child abuse crimes in their “Stop Child Abuse – Trace an Object” campaign. Within two weeks after the start of their campaign Europol received 10.000 contributions from the public. Bellingcat,…

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July 4, 2018

By Eliot Higgins

Getting the Message Out: Coordinating International and Regional Communication in the Syrian Conflict

Tracing the evolution of communication in the Syrian conflict reveals complex networks of coordination. The lack of direct access is at the core of this evolution—for international actors to provide humanitarian and monitoring support, for regional actors to be included in the decision- making process, and for civilians’ concerns and experiences to be considered. Changing…

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June 8, 2018

By Aric Toler

Anatomy of a Russian ‘Troll Factory’ News Site

When browsing through stories on the newly-established media outlet USAReally.com, you may think that you are reading a procedural-generated site that exists entirely from search engine optimization tricks, stealing articles from more established outlets and reposting them as if they were original. However, a closer inspection shows that there are no advertisements on the site…

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June 1, 2018

By Aric Toler

Colangelo’s Sock Puppets? Open Source Sleuthing Methods in Recent NBA Scandal

On May 29, The Ringer published an investigation into five Twitter accounts that had apparent links to Bryan Colangelo, the President of Basketball Operations of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers. Colangelo has since confirmed that he does operate one of these accounts — @phila1234567 — but is apparently only used for monitoring news, and does not tweet. The…

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April 19, 2018

By Syrian Archive

Methodology: How we Tracked the Illegal Shipment of Sarin Precursor from Belgium to Syria

On 18 April 2018 Syrian Archive and Knack revealed information that Belgium violated EU sanctions against Syria according to the summons of an upcoming lawsuit. The Belgian customs found that without having requested the appropriate export licenses three Flemish companies have exported 96 tonnes of isopropanol in a concentration of 95% or higher to Syria…

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February 10, 2018

By Thomas Mulder

Dutch Police Social Media Activity Raise Privacy Concerns

Following a Bellingcat workshop, a group of investigative journalists from the Dutch public broadcaster KRO-NCRV spent the last six months investigating social media platforms used by the Dutch National Police Force. After analyzing data and footage from YouTube videos, tweets, Facebook and Instagram posts, we reached the following conclusion: Dutch police are sometimes careless with…

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