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Policy report

The Australian National Intelligence Community (NIC) — like all democratic intelligence communities — is experiencing a transformation brought on by digital disruption. Data abundance, digital connectivity and ubiquitous technology have formed a new ‘big data landscape’ which is the foundation for many data-driven emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI).

Digital sharing is increasing within and between intelligence agencies but still requires improvement. Extant data-sharing issues remain with existing decision-makers, such as ministers, operational decision-makers and other government agencies, which could be improved using new technologies. Additionally, intelligence needs to be shared with new stakeholders, such as academia, industry and other government agencies, to optimise the opportunities — and counter the challenges — presented by data-driven technologies.

This policy brief draws on a larger research project that explored the impact of big data on intelligence production and national security decision-making in Australia. A unique data set included interviews with almost 50 NIC leaders and practitioners from each of the 10 agencies, who provided insight into the sometimes necessarily opaque processes and operations of intelligence agencies.


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