Gone are the days when dark figures covertly collected information.
In the meantime, Argus eyes fly over almost every point on earth every day.
In addition, in times of social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others, explosive details are made public - which only have to be discovered and analyzed.
According to WELT information, the German defense electronics group Hensoldt, which recently went public, is now entering this future market for surveillance technology and analysis for conversations, texts and images.
The company buys the Austrian company Sail Labs Technology.
The Vienna-based company, which was founded under this name over 20 years ago, is one of the world's leading providers of software that uses artificial intelligence to understand and analyze the flood of digital offers, including language.
More than 30 languages are in the repertoire.
Experts speak of Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) solutions and mean that huge amounts of information can legally be analyzed without hacker attacks.
Sources can be anything from television and newspapers to blogs and websites, social media, YouTube videos, research papers, virtually anything that can be found.
Sail Labs' applications could "collect, index, analyze and visualize" this data, they say.
The automatic speech recognition mastered by Sail Labs is considered the supreme discipline of the industry.
The Austrian company is even involved in EU research projects in this sector.
Strategic reasons - Germany takes a stake in Hensoldt
For Hensoldt, the complete takeover of Sail Labs is the key piece of the puzzle in building a leading data analysis company.
It is an open secret in the industry that governments also have an interest in national champions in this sector.
Hensoldt speaks boldly of “sensors for digital space”, which has become a “space for warfare”.
Probably an allusion that the disinformation campaigns of bygone times are now digitally carried out via leaflets and can therefore be analyzed.
Another field of application could be the protection of soldiers on deployment through better reconnaissance, because online traces are often left when troops are transferred.
Hensoldt is already one of the leading companies at Sigint (Signals Intelligence).
Intelligence agents understand this to mean telecommunications and electronic reconnaissance, such as listening to radio messages or cell phone data.
If the content is also understood, regardless of the language, that would round off.
At Hensoldt it is said that the group wants to become the “German technology leader in the field of data analytics and cyber”.
The Federal Republic of Germany recently took a 25.1 percent stake in Hensoldt for 450 million euros and justified this with the “industrial, security and defense policy importance of the company”.
There is no information about Sail Labs' customer list with a good two dozen employees.
The Federal Intelligence Service (BND) should be one of them.
The German secret service has an interest in understanding communication in any language as quickly as possible.
There are reports about the proximity of the BND to research projects on speech recognition and also to the German Sail Labs predecessor company GMS (Society for Multilingual Systems) in Munich.
BOT tracker and Photoshop detector
Most recently, Sail Labs belonged to the company's founders and financial investors.
The company is said to have even been named in documents from ex-CIA employee Edward Snowden.
Allegedly, the technology was used by the British secret service GCHQ in 2009 - and findings were in turn made available to the US foreign secret service NSA.
There is no official information on this.
Sail Labs also sees one of its competencies in the detection of false news, i.e. fake news, or disinformation campaigns.
In a report, the company points out that it can find out in real time during the corona pandemic who is distributing false news.
The company says it has also developed technology to calculate a probability of whether a Twitter message was artificially created.
Experts speak of a BOT message.
Even a Photoshop detector is one of the Sail Labs capabilities, which informs about whether a certain image has been manipulated.