van Ess

Detective Online detective

About Henk

Henk van Ess is obsessed with finding stories in data. That leads to many activities. This year he trained NBC News in New York and Buzzfeed in the use of open source intelligence. For Bellingcat, he has been doing the same in major European capitals. As an independent online detective, he works with young journalists around the globe to teach and develop new research skills.

Up to October 2019, Van Ess has been an active Member of the Bellingcat collective, the independent international collective of researchers, investigators and citizen journalists using open source and social media investigation to probe a variety of subjects – from Mexican drug lords and crimes against humanity, to tracking the use of chemical weapons and conflicts worldwide. With staff and contributors in more than 20 countries around the world, Bellingcat operates in a unique field where advanced technology, forensic research, journalism, investigations, transparency and accountability come together.

The Talk

Locating The Netherlands’ Most Wanted Criminal By Scrutinising Instagram

A fugitive convict from the Netherlands is taunting Dutch police with provocative pictures and videos from Iran, playing a game of “catch me if you can” on Instagram. “I love my freedom. And the weather,” he has stated.

Bellingcat was able to reveal the last known location of the criminal with the help of over 60 Twitter users. Henk van Ess shows how this was done, and gives some valuable insight into online research methods.

Want to be the first to receive updates?

Sign up for the newsletter