An ethical framework for managing social media intelligence

N. Gilmour

New Zealand Police,

As intelligence collection capabilities evolve in line with the increasingly technical nature of international security threats, it is increasingly important for intelligence practitioners to be equipped with a sound ethical framework for managing intelligence¬—especially in the context of technological surveillance.

This presentation considers some of the issues associated with transferring David Omand’s ethical framework internationally, assesses its overall applicability to social media intelligence (SOCMINT), and posits the most significant challenges to its implementation in the contemporary and future intelligence environments. It is argued that while Omand’s ethical framework is helpful in establishing boundaries for public sector intelligence agencies, to be of true value to the international intelligence community (IC) the framework must be firmly embedded within intelligence oversight legislation.


Dr Nicholas Gilmour is the New Zealand Police Fellow at Massey University in Wellington responsible for research supervision and teaching Masters Degree papers on intelligence, crime & security, and crime science.