We Were Expecting You, Mr. Bond.

Dateline Las Vegas, 19th March 2023.Like a good many other people it seems, I am hooked on Apple TV’s spy drama “Slow Horses”. It is based on a series of novels by the author Mick Herron and follows the story of a team of disgraced British intelligence officers who are sent to an unglamorous department where they are tasked with investigating low-level cases. The plots are interesting and the acting is absolutely first class, with heavyweights Gary Oldman and Kristin Scott-Thomas anchoring a terrific ensemble cast. Amy B. Zener, the author of “Spies, Lies, and Algorithms: The History and Future of American Intelligence” calls this kind of drama “spytainment”, which I love, but of course I always find myself questioning how much of it is real.ShareShaken, Not StirredIt seems to me that much the world of the spy is rather mundane surveillance, rather than jumping out of airplanes or racing around on motorbikes, and much of the work is about joining up the dots rather than uncovering secrets. Think about the Russian invasion of Ukraine: Never mind CIA spy satellites, the position of troops and tanks could be found on social media! We are now in the era of what is called “open source intelligence”.As Alan Brown explains, OSINT is the gathering of open data sources to support understanding and guide decision making. While the use of public information has long been important in military and security activities, the wider availability of digital data sources means that the opportunities to…We Were Expecting You, Mr. Bond.