March 14, 2021 admin 0 Comments

A private intelligence agency (PIA) is a private sector (non-governmental) or quasi-non-government organization devoted to the collection, analysis, and exploitation of information, through the evaluation of public sources (OSINT or Open Source INTelligence) and cooperation with other institutions.[1] Some private intelligence agencies obtain information deceptively or through on-the-ground activities for clients.[2][3][4][5][6]

Private agencies have made their services available to governments as well as individual consumers; they have also sold their services to large corporations with an interest or investment in the category (e.g. crime, disease, corruption, etc.) or the region (e.g. Middle East, Vietnam, Prague, etc.) or to investigate perceived threats such as environmental groups or human rights groups.[7][8][9][10][11]

Some private intelligence agencies use online perception management,[12] social media influencing/manipulation campaigns, strategic disinformation[13] (such as fake news production/propaganda production[14]), opposition research and political campaigns using social media and artificial intelligence such as Psy-Group, Cambridge Analytica and Black Cube.[15][16][17][18][19] The Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab described the activity of Archimedes Group as practicing “information warfare”.[20] Former anti-corruption prosecutor Aaron Sayne said private intelligence is “an industry that’s largely undocumented and has very flexible ethical norms” as agencies collect and use sensitive information “for one purpose on day one and some completely contradictory purpose on day two”.[21]

The private intelligence industry has boomed due to shifts in how the U.S. government is conducting espionage in the War on Terror. Some $56 billion (USD) or 70% of the $80 billion national intelligence budget of the United States was in 2013 earmarked for the private sector according to The New York Times' Tim Shorrock. Functions previously performed by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), National Security Agency (NSA), and other intelligence agencies are now outsourced to private intelligence corporations.[22]

Private intelligence agencies have also been seen in fiction. Rubicon, a TV series from AMC, was devoted to the intelligence consultancy American Policy Institute (API). In the Kingsman franchise, Kingsman is a private intelligence service of which main character Eggsy is a member. In season 5 of the spy-thriller series Covert Affairs, the CIA contract missions to a private military company called McQuaid Security which Annie Walker eventually joins.

Private intelligence companies often have offensive and defensive cybersecurity capabilities, some companies have close ties to government such as DarkMatter from the United Arab Emirates.

List of private intelligence companies by continent[edit]

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  • West Asia (Israel)
    • Archimedes Group (Israel based)
    • Psy-Group (Israel based, now closed)
    • Black Cube (Israel & UK based)
    • NSO Group (Israel based)
    • AEGIS (UK-based)
    • Cambridge Analytica (UK based) (defunct)
    • Control Risks Group (UK based)
    • Groupe GEOS (France based)
    • Hakluyt & Company (UK based)
    • Oxford Analytica (UK Based)
    • AggregateIQ (Canada based)
    • Booz Allen Hamilton (US based)
    • Fusion GPS (US based)
    • Kroll Inc. (US based)
    • Pinkerton National Detective Agency (US based)
    • Smith Brandon International, Inc. (US based)
    • Stratfor (US based)

See also[edit]

  • Private military company
  • Defense contractor
  • Private investigator
  • Business intelligence
  • Competitive intelligence
  • Open-source intelligence
  • Think tank
  • Labor spying in the United States


.mw-parser-output .reflist{font-size:90%;margin-bottom:0.5em;list-style-type:decimal}.mw-parser-output .reflist .references{font-size:100%;margin-bottom:0;list-style-type:inherit}.mw-parser-output .reflist-columns-2{column-width:30em}.mw-parser-output .reflist-columns-3{column-width:25em}.mw-parser-output .reflist-columns{margin-top:0.3em}.mw-parser-output .reflist-columns ol{margin-top:0}.mw-parser-output .reflist-columns li{page-break-inside:avoid;break-inside:avoid-column}.mw-parser-output .reflist-upper-alpha{list-style-type:upper-alpha}.mw-parser-output .reflist-upper-roman{list-style-type:upper-roman}.mw-parser-output .reflist-lower-alpha{list-style-type:lower-alpha}.mw-parser-output .reflist-lower-greek{list-style-type:lower-greek}.mw-parser-output .reflist-lower-roman{list-style-type:lower-roman}

  • ^ .mw-parser-output cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output .citation q{quotes:”””””””‘””‘”}.mw-parser-output .id-lock-free a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-free a{background:linear-gradient(transparent,transparent),url(“//”)right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}.mw-parser-output .id-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .id-lock-registration a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-registration a{background:linear-gradient(transparent,transparent),url(“//”)right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}.mw-parser-output .id-lock-subscription a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:linear-gradient(transparent,transparent),url(“//”)right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background:linear-gradient(transparent,transparent),url(“//”)right 0.1em center/12px no-repeat}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:none;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{display:none;color:#33aa33;margin-left:0.3em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .citation .mw-selflink{font-weight:inherit}Smith, Michael (2008-06-01). “Private Intelligence Companies” (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-02-05. Retrieved 2011-09-28.
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