7 Awesome Open Source Cloud Storage Software For Your Privacy and Security

Cloud storage is nothing but an enterprise-level cloud data storage model to store the digital data in logical pools, across the multiple servers. You can use a hosting company such as Amazon, Google, Rackspace, Dropbox and others for keeping your data available and accessible 24×7. You can access data stored on cloud storage via API or desktop/mobile apps or web based systems.


In this post, I’m going to list amazingly awesome open source cloud storage engines that you can use to access and sync your data privately for security and privacy reasons.

Why use open source cloud storage software?

The cloud - Source http://www.xkcd.net/908/

The cloud – Source http://www.xkcd.net/908/

  1. Create a cloud on your own server or in a data center.
  2. Control and own your own data.
  3. Privacy protection.
  4. Encryption.
  5. Verify source code for bugs and/or backdoors.
  6. Avoid spying on your files on the server using encryption.
  7. Legal compliance – HIPAA and others.
  8. Good performance as your data stored in local storage instead of remote data center.
  9. Good reliability and availability due to local LAN. You are no longer depends upon WAN bandwidth or the service provider for network.
  10. No artificially imposed limits on storage space or client connections and more
  11. Share your files and data with or without password or time limit. Share it publicly, or privately. No 3rd party corporation own your data.

Suggested sample cloud storage setup for home users

+—————-+ Internet/ISP—-|Router/Wireless | +—-+———–+ | +—-+—+ |Home Lan| +——–+ +——————-+ | | Raspberry Pi | +——-+ Or Intel | | Atom based server | | + | | Cloud storage | +——————-+

You can use the Raspberry Pi or an Intel Atom CPU based small server as a home cloud storage system. Use an external USB drive or secure backup service such as rsync.net/tarsnap.com to backup your cloud server in an encrypted format. This setup ensures that you keep all your data and not to trust the entirety of your personal data to a corporation.

Seafile: Easy to setup cloud storage for home users

Seafile is a file hosting cloud storage software to store files. You can synchronized files and data with PC and mobile devices easily or use the server’s web interface for managing your data files. There is no limits on data storage space (except for hard disk capacity) or the number of connected clients to your private server (except for CPU/RAM capacity).

Seafile cloud storage
Operating system: Cross-platform (written in C and Python) – MS-Windows/Raspberry Pi/Linux private server
Desktop clients: Yes (Windows/Mac OS X/Linux)
Mobile clients: Yes (Android/iPad/iPhone)
Type: File cloud storage and data synchronization
Paid support: Yes via Professional Edition
Licence: GPLv3 (Community Edition)
Download: seafile.com

ownCloud: Dropbox replacement

ownCloud is another very popular file hosting cloud storage software and often described as Dropbox replacement. Just like Dropbox you can synchronizes your files to your private server. Files placed in ownCloud server are accessible via the mobile and desktop apps. You can add external storage to your ownCloud with Dropbox, SWIFT, FTPs, Google Docs, S3, external WebDAV servers and more. Enable the encryption app to encrypt data on external storage for improved security and privacy.

owncloud  web client
Operating system: Cross-platform (written in PHP & JavaScript) – MS-Windows/Linux private server
Desktop clients: Yes (Windows/Mac OS X/Linux)
Mobile clients: Yes (Android/Apple iOS)
Type: File cloud storage and data synchronization
Paid support: Yes via Enterprise Edition
Licence: AGPLv3
Download: owncloud.org

git-annex assistant

The git-annex assistant creates a synchronised folder on each of your OSX and Linux computers, Android devices, removable drives, NAS appliances, and cloud services. You can manage, share, and sync your large files with the power of git and the ease of use of a simple folder you drop files into. Please note that the software is still under heavy development and new features are added regularly.

Operating system: Cross-platform – MS-Windows(beta)/Linux/OS X/FreeBSD/Docker private server
Desktop clients: No (porting)
Mobile clients: Yes (Android)
Type: File cloud storage and data synchronization
Paid support: ???
Licence: GPL version 3
Download: git-annex.branchable.com

SparkleShare: Easy to use cloud storage with git as a storage backend

It is also a Dropbox clone and very easy to setup. From the project site:

SparkleShare creates a special folder on your computer. You can add remotely hosted folders (or “projects”) to this folder. These projects will be automatically kept in sync with both the host and all of your peers when someone adds, removes or edits a file.

Operating system: Cross-platform (written in C#) – MS-Windows/Linux/OS X
Desktop clients: Yes ( MS-Windows/Linux/OS X)
Mobile clients: No (Android/iOS on hold)
Type: File and data synchronization
Paid support: ???
Licence: GPL version 3
Download: sparkleshare.org

Syncthing for private, encrypted & authenticated distribution of data

Syncthing is an open-source file synchronization client/server application, written in Go. It replaces proprietary sync and cloud services with something open, trustworthy and decentralized.

Operating system: Cross-platform (written in Go) – Linux, Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, Android, BSD, Solaris
Desktop clients: Yes (MS-Windows/Linux/OS X/OpeBSD and Unix-like)
Mobile clients: Yes (Android/F-Driod)
Type: File and data synchronization
Paid support: ???
Licence: GPL version 3
Download: syncthing.net

Stacksync cloud storage

StackSync is an open-source scalable Personal Cloud that can adapt to the necessities of organizations. It puts a special emphasis on security by encrypting data on the client side before it is sent to the server.

Operating system: Linux
Desktop clients: Yes (MS-Windows/Linux/)
Mobile clients: Yes (Android)
Type: File and data synchronization
Paid support: ???
Licence: GPL version 2
Download: stacksync.org

OpenStack Object Storage (Swift)

Swift is a scalable redundant storage system. Objects and files are written to multiple disk drives spread throughout servers in the data center, with the OpenStack software responsible for ensuring data replication and integrity across the cluster. Please note that Swift is meant for a large or enterprise users only and not recommended for home users due to complex setup procedures.

Operating system: Cross-platform (written in Python)
Desktop clients: ???
Mobile clients: ???
Type: File, data synchronization and more
Paid support: ???
Licence: Apache License 2.0
Download: openstack.org


Personally, I’m using Owncloud as FOSS based cloud solution for my file sharing with friends and family. It offers me Calendar, Contacts, and Dropbox like storage. My cloud server has total 5 disks, 2 Gib RAM, and an Intel atom cpu. I use a Debian Linux with RAID 6. I backup my cloud to an external USB drive and currently, testing tarsanp backup service. I’m also planning to try out SparkleShare on the Raspberry Pi soon.

Are you using any other personal FOSS cloud basesd software? Add your suggestions the comments below.

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How to search on Google

Learn a few tips and tricks to help you easily find information on Google.

Tip 1: Start with the basics

No matter what you’re looking for, start with a simple search like where’s the closest airport?. You can always add a few descriptive words if necessary.

If you’re looking for a place or product in a specific location, add the location. For example, bakery seattle. 

Tip 2: Search using your voice

Tired of typing? To search with your voice, say “Ok Google” or select the Microphone . Learn more about how to search with your voice.

Tip 3: Choose words carefully

When you’re deciding what words to put in the search box, try to choose words that are likely to appear on the site you’re looking for. For example, instead of saying my head hurts, say headache, because that’s the word a medical site would use.

Tip 4: Don’t worry about the little things

  • Spelling. Google’s spell checker automatically uses the most common spelling of a given word, whether or not you spell it correctly. 
  • Capitalization. A search for New York Times is the same as a search for new york times.

Tip 5: Find quick answers

For many searches, Google will do the work for you and show an answer to your question in the search results. Some features, like information about sports teams, aren’t available in all regions. 

  • Weather: Search weather to see the weather in your location or add a city name, like weather seattle, to find weather for a certain place.
  • Dictionary: Put define in front of any word to see its definition. 
  • Calculations: Enter a math equation like 3*9123, or solve complex graphing equations.
  • Unit conversions: Enter any conversion, like 3 dollars in euros.
  • Sports: Search for the name of your team to see a schedule, game scores and more. 
  • Quick facts: Search for the name of a celebrity, location, movie, or song to find related information. 

Expert Search tips

Want more tips and tricks to help you search like a pro? Check out the links below to learn more advanced search techniques.

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Find Open Textbooks – BCcampus OpenEd Resources

  • Histories of Indigenous Peoples and Canada

    Author(s): John Douglas Belshaw, Thompson Rivers University, Sarah Nickel, University of Saskatchewan, Chelsea Horton, Vancouver Island University

    Updated: Nov 24, 2020

    Description: Since the 18th century, the historical study of “Indians,” “Natives,” and “Aboriginals” in universities and colleges was contextualized within the story of colonization and growing European influence. Whatever justification might be mustered for that practice, it had real and dire effects: Canadians — including many Indigenous people — came to understand Indigenous histories as tangential, small, unimportant, and even a blind alley. This kind of thinking enabled Canadian authorities and citizen…[more]


  • Northern and Indigenous Health and Healthcare

    Author(s): Heather Exner-Pirot, Bente Norbye, Lorna Butler; University of Saskatchewan

    Updated: Nov 24, 2020

    Description: The provision of northern health care entails many unique challenges and circumstances that are rarely represented in mainstream health sciences education. This open access, online resource consists of 38 short chapters from a variety of experts, academics, and practitioners in northern and Indigenous health and health care from around the Circumpolar North on the following themes: health issues in northern and Indigenous communities; health systems and governance; the social determinants of he…[more]

  • Autodesk Inventor eBook

    Author(s): Wally Baumback

    Updated: Nov 24, 2020

    Description: This eBook contains self-paced learning modules that were written as a tool to guide and teach students to master Inventor. No two students learn at the same pace, therefore, the modules were written as competency-based bite-size pieces to allow students to work at their own pace. This book can be used in correspondence courses, online courses, instructor-lead classes, or by individuals teaching themselves to use Inventor in their own home or office.

    Supplementary materials

  • Intermediate Algebra – 2e (OpenStax)

    Author(s): Lynn Marecek, Santa Ana College, Andrea Honeycutt Mathis, Northeast Mississippi Community College

    Updated: Nov 18, 2020

    Description: Intermediate Algebra – 2e is designed to meet the scope and sequence requirements of a one-semester intermediate algebra course. The book’s organization makes it easy to adapt to a variety of course syllabi. The text expands on the fundamental concepts of algebra while addressing the needs of students with diverse backgrounds and learning styles. The material is presented as a sequence of clear steps, building on concepts presented in prealgebra and elementary algebra courses. The second editio…[more]

    Adopted Accessible Supplementary materials

  • Line A – Safe Work Practices Competency A-1: Control Workplace Hazards

    Author(s): Camosun College

    Updated: Nov 17, 2020

    Description: Safety is a part of the job. When you take a job, you have a safety obligation to your employer, co-workers, family, and yourself. By recognizing and understanding the hazards in your work area, you can prevent the occurrence of many accidents. Most accidents are preventable. Both employees and employers must take responsibility for making the workplace safe. The following list of lines and competencies was generated with the goal of creating an entry-level trades training resource, while stil…[more]

    Adopted Accessible Supplementary materials

  • Introductory Statistics (OpenStax)

    Author(s): Barbara Illowsky, De Anza College, Susan Dean, De Anza College

    Updated: Nov 13, 2020

    Description: Introductory Statistics follows the scope and sequence of a one-semester, introduction to statistics course and is geared toward students majoring in fields other than math or engineering. This text assumes students have been exposed to intermediate algebra, and it focuses on the applications of statistical knowledge rather than the theory behind it. The foundation of this textbook is Collaborative Statistics, by Barbara Illowsky and Susan Dean, which has been widely adopted. Introductory Stati…[more]

    Reviewed Adopted Accessible Supplementary materials

  • In the Workplace: An Intermediate Integrated Skills Textbook

    Author(s): Bow Valley College

    Updated: Nov 13, 2020

    Description: This is an English language skills textbook to help ELL students acquire communication skills in the workplace (listening, speaking, reading, and writing). The book is aimed at Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) levels 5/6, focusing on intercultural skills and essential skills: reading text, document use, writing, oral communication, thinking skills, working with others, and computer use. The digital PDF file can be printed or used from a computer. All of the multimedia files can be accessed fro…[more]

    Supplementary materials

  • In the Community: An Intermediate Integrated Skills Textbook

    Author(s): NorQuest College

    Updated: Nov 13, 2020

    Description: This is an English language skills textbook to help ELL students acquire communication skills in the community (listening, speaking, reading, and writing). The book is aimed at Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) levels 5/6, focusing on intercultural skills and essential skills: reading text, document use, writing, oral communication, thinking skills, working with others, and computer use. The digital PDF file can be printed or used from a computer. All of the multimedia files can be accessed fro…[more]

    Reviewed Supplementary materials

  • Concepts of Biology (OpenStax)

    Author(s): Samantha Fowler, Rebecca Roush, James Wise

    Updated: Nov 13, 2020

    Description: Concepts of Biology is designed for the typical introductory biology course for nonmajors, covering standard scope and sequence requirements. The text includes interesting applications and conveys the major themes of biology, with content that is meaningful and easy to understand. The book is designed to demonstrate biology concepts and to promote scientific literacy.

    Reviewed Adopted Accessible Supplementary materials

  • College Algebra (OpenStax)

    Author(s): Jay Abramson, Arizona State University

    Updated: Nov 13, 2020

    Description: College Algebra provides a comprehensive exploration of algebraic principles and meets scope and sequence requirements for a typical introductory algebra course. The modular approach and richness of content ensure that the book meets the needs of a variety of courses. College Algebra offers a wealth of examples with detailed, conceptual explanations, building a strong foundation in the material before asking students to apply what they’ve learned.

    Reviewed Adopted Accessible Supplementary materials

  • Source

    Cycorp Inc

    Cyc complements its own knowledge by proactively accessing the data it needs to solve problems, from siloed, static internal databases to high velocity streaming cloud services and everything in between. No additional prepping, cleansing, normalizing, or transformation of data is required.


    DC++ Open source client for Windows

    DC++ Open source client for Windows | DC-Plus-Plus Direct Connect/Advanced Direct Connect network
    DC++ is a client for the Direct Connect file sharing network. The Direct Connect network is a decentralized network, made up of individual servers (hubs) that users join to share files with other members on that hub. Each hub is individually run by a fellow user of the Direct Connect network, and may have certain themes to the content on the hub. Hub owners set up rules to regulate their hub as they see fit.

    Click herefor more Screenshots

    DC++ is, based on observable factors, the most prevalent client on the Direct Connect network. Below are some of its features:

    • No ads, spyware, or bundled software that you don’t need
    • Open source software, code freely available under the GNU GPL
    • Joins multiple hubs at the same time
    • Multiple protocol support (ADC & NMDC)
    • List of bookmark-like favorite hubs and users
    • Shares large files and many files per your organization scheme
    • Tiger Tree Hashes (TTH) used for file integrity
    • Search across all (or selected) connected hubs by file type, size, name or hash
    • Resume of downloads, with optional automatic search for alternate sources by TTH
    • Logging options and configuration for chat, private messages, downloads, and uploads
    • Automatic connectivity setup with autoconfiguration of UPnP and NAT-PMP routers
    • MAGNET link support for linking to specific content
    • Automatic and manual download priorities
    • Saving of user’s file lists for browsing and queueing
    • GUI is translated into many languages using community supplied Gettext .po language files
    • Segmented downloading
    • NAT-Traversal support
    • SSL encrypted secure hub-client communication and file transfers
    • Bandwidth limiting capabilities
    • Plugin support

    Supported Operating system : Windows version (XP SP3, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1) as well as under Wine.

    Click here to Visit this BitTorrent client»

    Download DC++ Open source client for Windows version (XP SP3, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1) as well as under Wine.

    Download DC++ Open source client»


    Find related images with reverse image search

    You can use a picture to find related images from the web.

    What you’ll find

    When you search with a picture, your results may include:

    • Similar images
    • The websites that contain these images
    • Other sizes of the picture you searched with

    Compatible browsers

    You can do a reverse image search on most browsers, like:

    • Chrome
    • Firefox
    • Safari

    Upload a picture

    1. On your computer, open a web browser, like Chrome or Safari.
    2. Go to Google Images.
    3. Click Search by image Search by image.
    4. Click Upload an image and then Choose file or Browse.
    5. Select a picture from your computer.
    6. Click Open or Choose.

    Drag and drop a picture

    Important: To drag and drop pictures, you’ll need to use Chrome or Firefox.

    1. On your computer, open a browser, like Chrome or Firefox.
    2. Go to Google Images.
    3. On your computer, find the file with the picture you want to search with.
    4. Click the picture.
    5. Hold down the mouse, drag the picture, and then drop it into the search box.

    Search with a URL

    1. On your computer, open a web browser, like Chrome or Safari.
    2. Go to the website with the picture you want to use.
    3. To copy the URL, right-click on the picture.
    4. Click Copy image address.
    5. Go to Google Images.
    6. Click Search by image Search by image.
    7. Click Paste image URL.
    8. In the text box, paste the URL.
    9. Click Search by image.

    The URLs you search with aren’t saved in your browsing history. Google may store the URLs to make our products and services better.

    Search with a picture from a website

    1. On your computer, open the Chrome browser.
    2. Go to the website with the picture you want to use.
    3. Right-click the picture.
    4. Click Search Google for image. You’ll see your results in a new tab.

    How Google uses the pictures you search with

    The pictures you upload in your search may be stored by Google for 7 days. They won’t be a part of your search history, and we’ll only use them during that time to make our products and services better. 

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    Introduction to Open Source Investigations by Stephen Hill

    Dr Stephen Hill

    Posted by: Dr Stephen Hill | Last modified on 16/04/2018

    Open-Source Intelligence or OSINT in the eyes of many refers to a broad array of information and sources that are generally available, including information obtained from the media (newspapers, radio, television, etc.), professional and academic records (papers, conferences, professional associations, etc.), and public data (government reports, demographics, hearings, speeches, etc.).  It has been estimated that roughly 90% of valuable intelligence comes from open sources compared to traditional covert intelligence.  According to the CIA open sources often equal or surpass classified information in monitoring and analysing issues including terrorism, proliferation and counterintelligence.  To an online investigator OSINT provides access to a plethora of intelligence which if knowing where to look and how to look can be the life blood of a modern day investigation. 


    To most searching the Internet is simply about using a search engine such as Google or its close rival Bing to run a key word search.  This type of search and sites such as Google are typically referred to as the surface or visible web.  In simple terms the surface web is a portion or segment of the World Wide Web that is indexable by a search engine such as Google for example.  Surface search engines typically construct a database of the Web by using programs called spiders or robots (web crawlers).  The spider gets a copy of each page and indexes it, storing useful information that will let the page be quickly retrieved again later.  Google uses a slightly more refined approach using what is commonly termed the ‘page rank algorithm’. 


    Online Investigation Toolkit


    When it comes to searching online there are many tools available with some being more popular than others so which are the most effective for the online investigator?  This is a difficult question as it depends on many circumstances based on the type of search being carried out.  However the following section explores some of the options available to the online investigator when exploring the world of social media.


    The main surface search index tools include Google and Bing with both having the ability to filter text, images, video and offer the investigator the ability to filter by time, location, site or related pages.  Both have good advanced features and offer the ability to translate (although this is very basic).  Whilst both these search engines are good they do not cover every possible angle of searching which some investigators have come to expect.  One weakness is that by default they do not automatically search the vast wilderness of social media including everything from blogs, photos, videos, geo-location data to name but a few.


    Social Media Investigations


    Social Media has opened up numerous opportunities and is a key component to profiling the subject of an investigation. The pool of information about each individual can form a distinctive social signature.


    Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn to name but a few have embedded themselves in people’s lives. Posting to walls, tweets, video and image updates are emerging as a new trove of intelligence.

    Social media evidence can be a valuable addition to an investigation, revealing the kind of information that, years ago, would have been difficult, if not impossible, to find. But it has to be gathered in a way that will hold up in court. Because it’s such a new source of evidence in investigations, case law is
    developing rapidly. A forward-thinking investigator would be well-advised to stay on top of the latest legislation both locally and internationally.


    Once the access to social media information has been secured, either through court order or simply due to public accessibility, evidence must be gathered in a way that is legal and useful.  Collecting evidence from social media sites can be challenging for several reasons.



    The world of social media is constantly changing, and users can easily update and delete material that could be evidence in a case, although once a user is aware of an ongoing investigation, he or she is under an obligation to preserve social media evidence just as if it were any other type of evidence.  Deleting photos, posts and other information is akin to shredding documents and the courts have been clear about the consequences, handing out hefty fines and sanctions for spoliation.

    There are a series of specialist search tools available which offer options to the online investigator especially as these tend to excel in searching social media.  The following selection of sites each has their own unique strengths whether it is looking at photos, finding user profiles or even establishing geo-social footprints – collectively they provide a powerful toolkit to the online investigator.


    Useful Sites:

    Echosec (https://www.echosec.net)

    Echosec is a location-based search platform that provides public safety, security, journalism, and intelligence professionals actionable knowledge based on social media and other information.  By typing a postcode into the search bar of the online application this site will bring up the location on a digital map and when the user highlights a square of the area, around a building, for example, social media posts and images taken and published in that location start popping up beneath the map. Sites searched include Facebook, Twitter, VK, Instagram.

    Geofeedia (https://geofeedia.com)

    Geofeedia is similar to Echosec allowing the user to search the globe and draw a perimeter around any location of interest displaying all geotagged social media posts from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Flickr.  Geofeedia’s visual and analytics tools make it easy to discover, monitor, and filter social data, on a real-time basis.

    Social Searcher (http://www.social-searcher.com)

    Social Searcher is a specialist social media search engine. It allows the user to search for content in social networks in real-time and provides deep analytics data. Users can search without logging in for publicly posted information on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Tumblr, Reddit, Flickr, Dailymotion and Vimeo. Users can also save their searches and set up email alerts.

    Dark Net Search

    The dark net has been in the headlines over the last couple of years because of its association to nefarious activities and it being ‘hidden’ from plain site.  Websites such as Silk Road and other associated activities operated under the anonymity of the dark net.

    Access to this dark net is possible through services such as TOR or I2P.  With more and more online users worried about privacy and possible intrusion into their online life, downloads of TOR have increased substantially over the last few years.  However the dark net has proved attractive to not only the typical user worried about security but also the criminal wishing to hide their identity.  The dark net serves as a platform for the cyber-criminal to become anonymous since it not only provides protection from unauthorised users but also in many cases encryption to prevent monitoring.  TOR (the onion router) is one such anonymous network with access via the TOR browser which was developed by the US Naval Research Laboratory for communicating online anonymously.

    So where would you start when trying to unlock this ‘dark net’ information?  The first and most crucial part is to understand when conducting an online investigation is how can the investigator go untraced and fall under the radar – in other words how do they hide their own digital footprints?

    Anonymity comes from the Greek word ‘anonymia’ referring to the state where one’s personal identity is not publicly known.  To allow this anonymity online the internet investigator should look to disguise their digital footprints by hiding their IP address. The TOR client allows this to happen by routing internet traffic through a worldwide volunteer network of servers hiding the users information and eluding any activities of monitoring. 

    The onion routing is a technique for anonymous communication over a computer network.  Messages are repeatedly encrypted and sent through several network nodes called onion routers.  In the same way someone may peel the layers of an onion, each onion router removes a layer of encryption to uncover routing instructions, and sends the message to the next router where the process is repeated. This gives the internet investigator the level of protection required as this technique prevents intermediary nodes from knowing the origin, destination and contents of the message.

    Go Forth and Search

    There is no right or wrong way to carry out an internet search but it is a good idea to familiarise yourself with a selection (toolbox) of search engines and specialist sites to use during an online investigation.  When conducting a straight forward keyword search experiment by adding and taking away words and try using the ‘Advanced Search’ option on the chosen search engine.

    Remember information is power and having access to the most accurate, up-to-date and relevant intelligence is vital to a successful online investigation.  Knowing when to stop searching is a key skill so practice good discipline by setting a time limit and remember a good investigation is based on quality not quantity.

    One final point to remember – protect your ID when online by using an anonymous browser and when asked for personal details if for example accessing a Gmail account or social media profile then use details not associated to you or your organisation. Also consider using a search engine which doesn’t track you giving better privacy such as DuckDuckGo (https://duckduckgo.com) or StartPage (https://startpage.com).


    Author: Dr Stephen Hill, Director of Data & Intelligence at Absolute Partnership Ltd and founder of Snowdrop Consulting Ltd.  Further information on OSINT and Internet investigation training can be obtained by emailing Stephen at Stephen.hill@absolutepartnership.co.uk