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Open Souce Center (OSC)

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Open Source Center (OSC) is a United States government agency that provides analysis of open-source materials, including gray literature, through OSC's domestic and overseas bureaus. Established November 1, 2005 under the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, OSC was tasked with improving the availability of open sources to intelligence officers and other government officials.


OpenSource.gov provides timely and tailored translations, reporting and analysis on foreign policy and national security issues from the Open Source Center and its partners. Featured are reports and translations from thousands of publications, television and radio stations, and Internet sources around the world. Also among the site's holdings are a foreign video archive and fee-based commercial databases for which OSC has negotiated licenses. OSC's reach extends from hard-to-find local publications and video to some of the most renowned thinkers on national security issues inside and outside the US Government. Accounts are available to US Government employees and contractors. Register today to see what OpenSource.gov has to offer.




A couple of my colleagues told how great this wiki web site is, so I tried to access the website to verify information. What I found out is that the Open Source Center is not open source at all. It is not freely acceptable to the American public. The information is not classified, so what is the problem?


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World Wide Web Consortium's Open Source definition


transparency (due process is public, and all technical discussions, meeting minutes, are archived and referencable in decision making)

relevance (new standardization is started upon due analysis of the market needs, including requirements phase, e.g. accessibility, multi-linguism)

openness (anybody can participate, and everybody does: industry, individual, public, government bodies, academia, on a worldwide scale)

impartiality and consensus (guaranteed fairness by the process and the neutral hosting of the W3C organization, with equal weight for each participant)

availability (free access to the standard text, both during development and at final stage, translations, and clear IPR rules for implementation, allowing open source development in the case of Web technologies)

maintenance (ongoing process for testing, errata, revision, permanent access)


DNI Open Source definition


DNI defines open source as gathering and disseminating information from open source publications.


The U.S. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a law ensuring public access to U.S. government records. FOIA carries a presumption of disclosure; the burden is on the government - not the public - to substantiate why information may not be released. Upon written request, agencies of the United States government are required to disclose those records, unless they can be lawfully withheld from disclosure under one of nine specific exemptions in the FOIA. This right of access is ultimately enforceable in federal court.


I have spoken with a member of the Open Source Center about gaining access to OpenSource.gov. It was explained that no news media except members of the BBC and Stars and Stripes have access to the web site. The reason being is the analysis is For Official Use Only. In addition, if Director, National Intelligence (DNI) allowed public access OpenSource.gov would be in copyright and license violations with International Media Publications.


Although it would be nice to access the seven million articles I do understand why I do not have access. Imagine the American media collaborating with their sources of information to build OpenSource.gov. What a tool that would be. No spin. No fluff. Just the facts.

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  • 5 months later...

What you are stating is exactly the oposite of what the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Michael Hayden, stated at the at the Open Source Conference 2008 in Washington.


Open-source data is information that is publicly available and legally obtainable. It includes pamphlets, Web sites, videos, white papers, news articles and academic reports.

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