Abstract: What constitutes good intelligence is best understood by practitioners but has not been explored through empirical analysis and in the context of a digital age. This paper presents the first research inside all the agencies that form the Australian National Intelligence Community exploring how they are impacted by big data. Intelligence is often opaque to outsiders, yet understanding the characteristics of good intelligence is important to societies that rely on intelligence agencies for national security. This paper reflects the previously unheard perspectives of members of the agencies that form the Australian National Intelligence Community – where there is a significant empirical gap. Semi-structured interviews with 47 participants explored the impact of big data on intelligence and decision-making in Australia. This paper finds that intelligence must meet the following characteristics, many established in historical literature, in order to be considered good intelligence; (i) timely, (ii) purposeful, (iii) actionable, (iv) accurate, (v) provides value-add for an intended audience, and, (vi) is unbiased. This article explores and unpacks each of these characteristics of good intelligence and finds they remain critical in a big data era.
Big data, emerging technologies and the characteristics of ‘good intelligence’
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Dr Miah Hammond-Errey