The High Stakes Counter Surveillance Techniques
Before engaging in a discussion concerning counter surveillance techniques, a few points must be made clear. If you speculate you’re under surveillance or you speculate someone you know is under surveillance, one needs to ascertain this as a fact; as opposed to being based on speculation or speculate information. The operative information is “speculate”. There are instances when one might genuinely feel they are being watched, when facts state otherwise. For example one might speculate CIA is spying on them. This is untrue because CIA has a mandate which forbids spying on its citizens within the confines of the territory of United States. Yes CIA does collect economic and business intelligence employing various proven spying techniques. However, this information is used to inform, protect or sustain policies (policy makers) of the United States.
To keep in perspective, there are 16 known USA intelligence agencies outside of CIA like NSA which is the National Security Agency who can spy on citizens, i.e. wire taping their land lines or cell phone lines, or computer traffic. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act – FISA of 1978 gave many intelligence agencies sweeping authority in efforts to combat acts deemed illegal or against “the homeland”. Under FISA intelligence agencies do not always require a court order to place someone under “electronic surveillance”. All they need is probable cause or reasonable suspicion.
When the FISA act is deployed to place someone or companies under surveillance the stakes are high as failure or discovery of the operation may have international or national security implications. Surveillance on level is a very serious. The FISA act enormous strength has been amplified post 911. Perhaps in future articles, I may expand on explaining FISA and the implications.
Given surveillance is very high stakes and one needs to be 100% sure surveillance is being used otherwise it could be potentially disastrous and rule to false accusations or damaged credibility at a minimum. consequently, there is no place for errors or best guesses.
The first question which comes to mind would be why someone would want to put another under surveillance?
1. National Security
2. Law Enforcement Investigations
3. Legal Investigation
4. Large corporations or businesses seeking to gain competitive advantage over another
5. Disgruntled spouses or friends who have hired a Private Detective or PI
Item 4 will serve as a dominant reason for surveillance for the purposes of this article.
How do you protect yourself or your company against unscrupulous surveillance techniques?
1. Determine exact reason for surveillance
2. Determine who is doing the surveillance, i.e. referring only to items 4 above
3. Utilize either human intelligence or counter surveillance gear to thwart the attack
There are situations whereby people might be inclined to use all manner of tactics ethical or unethical to survey a target. There are no hard and fast rules. What is important is protecting your rights and personal security or character.
What might a surveillance team use?
1. Motion detection activated Surveillance Cameras
2. Hidden Audio Devices
3. Hidden Spy Cameras inside pens, clocks, calculators, etc.
4. means or land surveillance
5. Human intelligence when someone is truly monitoring the target in question
The meaningful to good surveillance operation is based stealth and concealment of activities, so as not to allow target to become suspicious. There are times when surveillance operations are overt which in itself is a tactic used to install fear and panic.
As surveillance operations are initiated as a method to collect information on a target, a very effective counter surveillance technique would be to use “disinformation”. Information is information. How information is used or how it is perceived is an thoroughly different story and can be manipulated. One can have good intelligence – raw information. However, the information transmutes into poor intelligence based on misunderstanding, misrepresentations or biases. In other words, the meaningful is to collect objective intelligence not based on opinions, but facts. Surveillance is a method of obtaining information or intelligence and should be treated consequently.
This is a hypothetic situation: You’re a businessman or businesswoman and one of your competitors is attempting or infringing on your intellectual rights or business character, i.e., products, information or other valuable assets.
One day while in a board meeting you notice an object which has been taped surreptitiously underneath the board room table. What is it?
1. If you speculate it some form of audio transmitter, do not touch it
2. Leave the room
3. Instead of calling in the “sweeping team” to remove the device closest do not remove it
4. Knowing the device is there can give you an edge and you can satisfy the audio device any information you so please.
Sometimes surveillance operations do not to follow viewing intelligence collected objectively. Instead they let their biases or zeal to get the job done rule to erroneous conclusions, based on what they believed. This kind knowledge can be used against a surveillance attempt.
There many techniques which can use as counter surveillance measures and may be discussed in future articles. The first objective is to factually and objectively determine one is in fact under surveillance. Once ascertained then and only then can appropriate counter surveillance actions be taken.
If one is under any kind of proven surveillance the party surveying must have – what they have concluded – is a justifiable reason for deploying both money and manpower for the operation.
If truly under surveillance, know there are ways to counter efforts of surveillance tactics used against you in an attempt to attack your person or character. Keep in mind surveillance is a very high stakes operation which could have serious implications both for the one being surveyed and the surveyor.
If surveillance is being conducted by an agency, Private Detective or business competitor the situation does merit investigation and possible counter measures. Determine surveyor’s objectives (outside of the obvious) and you have a better chance of protecting yourself. Like a good chess player try to think a few moves ahead of your opponent. Remember be objective and try not to let emotions cloud your judgment. Admittedly this advice is not easy to stick together especially if one is under duress.