Sunday, September 30, 2007

SpyCam Story #386 - Gunsmoke

CA - Sheriff Pat Hedges may have had good intentions, but his decision to secretly videotape his subordinates was woefully misguided at best and illegal at worst.

By his own admission, Hedges eavesdropped on sheriff’s employees on two occasions: once as part of a criminal investigation that he declined to elaborate on, and again in connection with a personnel matter last year. (more)

SpyCam Story #385 - The Accountable Accountant

Australia - Tax accountant Ross Sargent waited until the office was deserted before walking down the corridor with a tiny pinhole spy camera clutched in his hand. Sargent made his way to the women's toilets and carefully installed the camera in the roof of one of the cubicles. He set it to record when it sensed motion.

The camera stayed hidden there for the next 20 months before a maintenance worker found it in October last year.

Sargent, 46, is expected to be jailed this week after recording and storing 1308 video images on his laptop taken from the spy camera. (more)

Outrage as toilet spy's term cut to two months

A PEEPING Tom accountant who installed a spy camera in a female lavatory and stored more than 1300 images of women and children has had his jail sentence slashed from a maximum of 14 months' jail to just two months. (more)

Bill Bellichick (aka Bill O. Check to some)

NJ - A disgusted Jets season ticket-holder went on the offensive against the New England Patriots over the infamous Videogate scandal.

Princeton lawyer Carl Mayer filed a class-action suit in Newark Federal Court against the New England Patriots and coach Bill Belichick because a video assistant filmed Jets coaches giving defensive signals last month. (more)

SpyCam Story #384 - Lawrence County (update)

AL - Casting new light on a rural spy mystery, Lawrence County commissioners placed two employees on leave amid allegations they were responsible for a hidden camera that was found inside a courthouse meeting room.

Commissioner Alma Whitlow said county administrators Linda Harville and Karen Harrison didn't deny placing a hidden monitoring system in the commission office without members' knowledge.

The motive behind the bugging was unclear. No charges have been filed.

FBI agents interviewed Harville, Harrison, and four commissioners earlier this month. Aside from the hidden camera, agents seized items including video cassettes, cables and a receiver. (more)

SpyCam Story #383 - HAL Makes House Calls

The ConnectR “Virtual Visiting Robot” is simultaneously an interesting and creepy device. Designed to enable real-time “virtual visits” over the Internet, the robot combines a nanny cam, an internet phone and an RC car. Users set up the robot in their home, and via the internet, control the audio/video camera-equipped robot, moving it around the home, using the video camera to look around, and the speakers to talk to people or pets within the home. (more)(more)

Bugby! or, Tapped By That Tough Guy

UK - A security consultant has come forward to admit he performed surveillance at Newcastle United.

The News of the World says Brian Tough was ordered to TAP PHONES of unhappy managers and players and even take SECRET FILM of England legend Alan Shearer that could be used against him if he tried to leave the club.

Tough revealed how he bugged:
- Kevin Keegan's calls to his wife to see if he was planning to quit as manager
- Sunderland's chairman Bob Murray - to find out secret plans for their new stadium
- The Editor of a local newspaper because he'd run knocking stories on the club, and even
- The butler of 74-year-old Newcastle president Sir John Hall.

In a shattering confession, Tough says: "At times I felt really bad about it, especially when I spied on our own players and senior staff. The players and fans would have gone mad if they had found out what I was up to." ...

Former Newcastle chairman Freddy Shepherd said: "Tough did make me aware of what he had done but I did not condone it. I couldn't control what he did. He didn't work for me. I had nothing to do with bugging anybody." (more)


Another good reason not to allow laptops into proprietary meetings and conferences...

"This is the smallest, high-sensitivity, high gain USB microphone available, and is our most popular choice for court reporters, students, business people, voice recognition purposes, Skype communication, VOIP and Podcasting - anyone that needs to get high quality audio into a computer!

This mic our 'stealthiest' USB microphone!"
Windows & MAC
(more)(sample audio)

Thursday, September 27, 2007

McLaren/Ferrari - Zero to Fiasco in Seconds

"With seemingly no end to the espionage saga, it now emerges that F1's governing body earlier this week contributed to the widespread distribution of dozens more McLaren and Ferrari secrets.

A day before releasing the nearly 200 pages of World Motor Sport Council transcripts to the public on Wednesday, the FIA had sent the documents to both teams so that confidential technical and financial information could be redacted.

But when the PDF documents were initially made available on the Internet, it soon became clear that the blackened sections could easily be revealed if copy-pasted into another text editor.

The offending copies were quickly removed from the FIA website and replaced."
(via Ben Moore - Risks Digest 24.83)

Eavesdropping on Co-workers at Airport

NY - A man has been charged with felony eavesdropping and possession of an eavesdropping device after secretly recording his co-workers conversations at Albany International Airport, Albany County sheriff's deputies said.

Karl A. Schroeder, 38, of Old Route 66, works for AvPorts, a private company contracted to run the airport. Deputies said he covertly placed a digital recorder in a staff lounge at the airport and recorded conversations between other employees and management on several occasions this month.

He also recorded conversations in person with a concealed recorder, according to deputies, who said the content of the recordings did not pose a security threat and that Schroeder said he recorded the conversations for personal reasons. (more)

Don't puck with "Mr. Hockey" (update)

Gordie Howe has reached a compromise in his lawsuit against a spying neighbour who has been conducting surveillance on the hockey legend's home.

After three hours of closed-door negotiating, Howe told Oakland County Circuit Judge Edward Sosnick he would drop his lawsuit if Lionel and Karen Dorfman stop snooping on him. (more)

Cupid Pleads Guilty to Eavesdropping!

Most Cupids stick to stealing hearts, but New York City resident Malik Cupid stole his ex-girlfriend's identity, money and e-mail, the Westchester County District Attorney's Office says.

Cupid, 31, pleaded guilty yesterday in Westchester County Court to one felony count of eavesdropping and one misdemeanor count of attempted eavesdropping.

From May 22 to Oct. 17, 2006, Cupid assumed his ex-girlfriend's identity while she was on active duty with the U.S. Army in Iraq. (more)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

"¡Mira. Mira. Consiga sus boletos del cráter y píldoras del yoduro del potasio aquí!"

According to the Russian daily, Pravda, what landed in Puno, Peru on Saturday August 15 was a North American spy satellite targeting Iran.

According to the Russian daily, Russian Military Intelligence Analysts reported that the U.S. spy satellite KH-13 was destroyed in its orbit with its main power generator surviving re-entry and crashing in Peru.

In addition, it was reported that the sicknesses caused in Puno were due to the radiation in the generator.

According to the daily, it would have been impossible for a meteorite to hit the ground, cause a 30 meter-crater and not have been recorded by seismic stations around the world.

[The kicker...] Yesterday, Puno, Peru's Regional Tourism Directorate announced that the area around the crater would be roofed and turned into a tourist attraction for all those that wanted to see the large crater. (more) (video)

Spy King - What are the odds?

The former king of Bulgaria (Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha), who returned to the country after half a century of Communist-imposed exile, was a KGB spy, it has been alleged.

The accusation comes as the country delves through its Communist-era files to discover the identity of former collaborators and informants.

Yane Yanev, the ORLJ leader, alleged that the Saxe-Coburg, who returned to Bulgaria in 1996 amidst scenes of public adulation, was recruited after KGB agents preyed on his weakness for gambling.

The accusations have been rejected by the ex-king... He suggested that the latest allegations were intended to smear him in the run up to local elections. (more)

SpyCam Story #382 - Lawrence County (update)

Hidden camera found in Lawrence County meeting room

AL - A spy gadget that sounds like something out of a James Bond movie [groan] is raising questions in a rural Alabama county.

A crowd of residents filled the Lawrence County Commission's meeting room Monday to learn more about an FBI probe that uncovered surveillance equipment that reportedly was used to record what went on inside a private office in a courthouse annex.

The FBI confiscated the bug on Sept. 13, and commissioners said they became aware of the investigation only when agents arrived. They did not reveal how agents learned of the equipment.

County attorney Cecil Caine said the bugging system apparently was installed by a previous administration, and county records showed the clock radio was purchased at the Alabama Spy Shop in Madison in 2004.

Lawrence County Commission Chairman Bradley Cross said Monday the assistant county administrator, Karen Harrison, might have installed the hidden camera to prove she and possibly others weren't viewing pornography on computers. [roll eyes]

"I think that was the reason why it was bugged. That's my thinking," Cross said. "I can't be sure, but that's my opinion. I don't know what was on it." (more)

SpyCam Story #381 - SpyCams Go Hollywood

'Look' spy-cam footage looks real, but isn't...

We may not realize it, but we're all movie stars thanks to the roughly 30 million surveillance cameras throughout the U.S. that capture each of us on film about 200 times daily.

That's the premise of writer-director Adam Rifkin's "Look," a fascinating feature that appears to be actual spy-cam footage strung together, but is really a fiction film spring-boarding off the idea that our comings and goings these days are anything but private.

After an early look at "Look," which I've been telling friends not to miss, I was happy to focus on the making of the film with Rifkin.

"We all, I think, are aware of it, but I don't think we think about it enough," Rifkin said about the cameras that record so much of what we do in public today. "I don't think most people are aware of it to the extent that it really permeates the culture. When I started thinking about the idea to make the movie, I started looking around everywhere I went and there were just cameras everywhere. Most of the time (when) you're sitting in a restaurant, you're shopping at a grocery store, you're changing in a changing room, you're in a public bathroom, you're just not thinking about it -- but they're everywhere. And interestingly the number of cameras is growing exponentially." (more)(trailer)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

SpyCam Story #380 - Pentagon's See-d

Lockheed Martin Corp., the Pentagon's No. 1 supplier by contract value, is working on a keychain-sized, remote-controlled aerial vehicle designed to collect and transmit data with military and homeland security uses.

Resembling the seed of a silver maple tree, the single-winged device would pack a tiny two-stage rocket thruster along with telemetry, communications, navigation, imaging sensors and a power source.

The nano air vehicle, or NAV, is designed to carry interchangeable payload modules -- the size of an aspirin tablet. It could be used for chemical and biological detection or finding a "needle in a haystack," according to Ned Allen, chief scientist at Lockheed's fabled Skunk Works research arm.

SpyCam Story #379 - World's Smallest Camcorder

from the seller's web site...
The Micro-Camcorder is the smallest high resolution, real time digital camcorder ever produced. Easy to use "one touch record" button lets you discretely record any evidence instantly. For the most discrete application, the Micro Camcorder can even fit into a standard pack of chewing gum!

This Micro Camcorder records Hi-Resolution (3gp) real time (15fps) video via its internal pin hole camera at the touch of a button. Recordings are stored on a tiny removable Micro SD card. Up to 33 hours of video can be recorded on a 1Gb Micro SD card [2 hours at a time between recharging] Internal rechargeable battery is recharged via USB connection. (more & sample video)

Hollywood Movie Director Sentenced To Jail

CA - Film director John McTiernan has been sentenced to four months in prison on charges relating to the FBI and a private investigator. McTiernan is best known for films such as “The Thomas Crown Affair,” “Die Hard” and “The Hunt for Red October.” McTiernan hired private investigator Anthony Pellicano to wiretap producer Charles Roven. (more)

Monday, September 24, 2007

Wiretapping for Dollars!

Companies like Google scan their e-mail users’ in-boxes to deliver ads related to those messages. Will people be as willing to let a company listen in on their phone conversations to do the same?

Pudding Media, a start-up based in San Jose, Calif., is introducing an Internet phone service today that will be supported by advertising related to what people are talking about in their calls. The Web-based phone service is similar to Skype’s online service — consumers plug a headset and a microphone into their computers, dial any phone number and chat away. But unlike Internet phone services that charge by the length of the calls, Pudding Media offers calling without any toll charges.

The trade-off is that Pudding Media is eavesdropping on phone calls in order to display ads on the screen that are related to the conversation. Voice recognition software monitors the calls, selects ads based on what it hears and pushes the ads to the subscriber’s computer screen while he or she is still talking. (more)

Think about this...
• NSA level technology is now a free advertising gimmick.
• Your secrets are more vulnerably now than at any other time in history.
• The cost per-conversation-eavesdropped-on is at its lowest.
• The likelihood that your business will be wiretapped is at its highest.

Today's Wall Street Journal discusses government's obligation to protect its assets, "proactive electronic surveillance operations are essential." Businesses must also protect their assets.

• Proactive Counter-surveillance Inspections (PCI).
Top corporate security programs already include PCI as an essential element. Other businesses (and government agencies) are adding it at a record pace.
Need to know more?
Check here.

SpyCam Story #378 - Out of the Water Closet

The following came from a announcement posted on the Internet. The event is over, but the message is clear. SpyCamers are no longer haunting just bathrooms. Keep alert.

Super Secret Spy Cam Party - San Francisco
Event Details

Shhh… shut the door, close your blinds, and listen close. For a long time now, our super secret spycams have been on the streets filming (shhhh…) Real Live PickUp in Action! Yes, that’s right real women in the real world being picked up and all caught on tape with our hidden cameras. And now you, and a select group of our best fans, have been invited to take a sneak peak inside our hidden cam archives. And that’s not all…

You may have seen some short samples on youtube or on our website, but we’ve actually been holding onto literally hours and hours of footage that no one outside my inner circle has ever seen. You see, for years I’ve been filming my instructors and students out in the field, not only to help us with training, but to gather undeniable proof of what we already know – that this stuff works! And, it works like magic!

And now, for the first time ever, we’re planning to release this top secret footage to the world. Because it’s not just about watching cool videos of all our PickUp 101 techniques in action... it’s also an unbelievable learning tool. (more)

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Two-Way Mirror, Cameras - Spying Accusations

China - An accusation of spying has stirred intrigue at the Women’s World Cup.

The day before their match with China, Denmark team officials found two men with video cameras sitting behind a two-way mirror in the hotel conference room where the team was about to hold a strategy meeting.

“It’s like a spy movie,” the Danish team press officer Pia Schou Nielsen said. She said the men were Chinese, although Denmark Coach Kenneth Heiner-Moller told reporters he did not know what nationality the men were. ...

It was not clear who the men with the video cameras were, but they were taken away by the police, Danish officials said. FIFA, soccer’s world governing body, said in a statement Thursday that it and the Danish team decided not to pursue the case. (more)

Is Your Boss Spying on You?

More stealthy and prevalent than ever before, corporate security software is monitoring your every move inside and out of the office, whether it’s with your corporate computer, e-mail, phone or BlackBerry. As PM’s senior technology editor reports in his biweekly trends column, your employer has more powerful tools to watch over you than the cops—and there’s nothing you can do about it. ...

Much of the technology used in business investigation is similar to, if not better than, the more talked-about tools used by police or sometimes even by the FBI and NSA. “Most local and state law enforcement agencies have no money to afford the sort of forensic software and hardware that big companies use,” Sensei’s Nelson says. “So the tools available to corporations are far more sophisticated.”

Plus, private corporations generally don’t have pesky warrants to deal with before they can access the digital evidence, as the law is still catching up to much of this new technology. Many corporate phone systems are now utilizing “unified messaging,” wherein voice messages are turned into audio files and integrated into e-mail programs. That makes them subject to the same security technology that combs through every one of your e-mails. And many industries are subject to regulations regarding the retention of data, so even if you want to get rid of a correspondence, your company is legally obligated to keep it. (more)

Saturday, September 22, 2007

"All in all it's just another brick in the wall"

NY - Riverhead teachers demonstrated against camera surveillance at their high school Friday, fresh complaints surfaced in other Long Island districts that electronic monitoring also is being used there to track teachers' conduct, not simply to provide security.

In the Connetquot district, the teachers' union is protesting district plans to install cameras later this fall in the high school gym and auditorium. A teacher's representative there told Newsday that staffers grew worried about the potential misuse of cameras when a high school teacher was reprimanded last spring for behavior recorded by an electronic hallway monitor. (more)

SpyCam Story #377 - Old Fashioned Spying

A Romulus woman told police her neighbor has been spying on her through a peep hole in her apartment.

"I was furious. I was just straight furious. That's the only word that comes to mind," said Paula Campbell.

Campbell told police she was taking a shower when she noticed a hole in her bathroom ceiling. "I looked up. I got soap in my eyes or something and I looked up and I saw those eyes or something," Campbell said. "I looked up and there was a hole (in the ceiling)."

Campbell contacted police who found evidence in her neighbor's apartment. "We found some information in his apartment where he'd ordered some surveillance equipment, some spy cams and mini-cams," said Romulus Police Detective Dwayne Decaires. (more +video)

Hidden keystroke-logging devices

Keystroke loggers are a particularly dangerous security threat because users typically don’t realize they’re even there. Learn about the different versions of keystroke loggers, and get tips for protecting your organization and your users from this threat. (more)

Asher Meir, on spying

I've written quite a few columns on the topic of spying. Some were on spying on your competitors (bottom line: you are allowed to use only publicly available information; if you are the target you can engage in limited subterfuge to keep the competition guessing); spying on your workers (only when there is a compelling reason to suspect serious wrong-doing, and only when the information will be used in a focused and equitable way). I even wrote about doing Google searches on potential dates (best to have someone else do these for you and give you a thumbs up or thumbs down; knowing too much may take the romance out of your meeting.)

The latest topic I have encountered is spying on your spouse. This is a very active area, and quite sophisticated means are available to suspicious wives and husbands. I plan to write about this very delicate ethical topic soon.

Instead, looking at the impressive arsenal of gadgets and subterfuges used in this particular battleground of the war of the sexes inspired me to a different thought, very relevant to this season: How would we look if we spied on ourselves? (more)

Don't puck with "Mr. Hockey"

Gordie Howe has won a temporary restraining order barring a neighbour from conducting surveillance on the hockey legend's home.

Howe, 79, who has been the subject of a residential association dispute for more than a year, says he's tired of being spied on.

The former Detroit Red Wings star and his wife, Colleen, on Tuesday filed an eight-count stalking lawsuit in Oakland County. The Howes claim Lionel and Karen Dorfman, a retired couple in their 70s, have engaged in unlawful eavesdropping and invasion of privacy for more than a year.

The Howes allege the Dorfmans have had a camera snapping photos of their house every five seconds - more than 17,000 photos a day. (more)

Hockey great Gordie Howe won a temporary restraining order barring a neighbour from conducting surveillance on his home. (more)

FlySpies - Coming to a Window Near You

Buy a shotgun :)

(more videos)

Wiretapping added to abuse charges

NH - Nashua police Wednesday arrested Theresa A. Bergeron, 36, of 13 Salem St., and charged her with one count of misdemeanor wiretapping and eavesdropping for allegedly secretly recording audio from a meeting with an official from the state Division of Children, Youth and Families. (more)

Why Is Sports Crime Different?

Professional sports are not just 'sports'. Sports are businesses, big businesses. Each team is a corporation. Their profits rise and fall on their successes and failures - just like any other business.

When a team executive spies for competitive advantage that team is stealing money from the losing opponent. This is a crime.

How much money are we talking about here?

Take the Super Bowl for example. Heck, take three Super Bowls. Winning via fraud can add up. Denny Hatch estimated three Super Bowl wins adds up to about $1.7 million!

Bill Belichick, the New England Patriots football coach, coincidentally 'led' his team to three Super Bowl victories. He was caught spying on his opponents. He was fined $500,000 (tax deductible) - approximately 12% of his yearly salary. He wasn't fired from his job. He wasn't suspended from even one game.

Is Belichick appealing the decision? No. Just a cost of doing business, I guess.

The McLaren-Mercedes Formula One team was fined $100 million this month for their little espionage caper against Ferrari. Are they appealing the decision? No. Cost of doing business?

Compare 'Sports' business to conventional business...
• A federal judge ignored a former Coca-Cola secretary’s tearful plea for mercy and sentenced her to eight years in prison for conspiring to steal trade secrets from the world’s largest beverage maker. U.S. District Judge J. Owen Forrester told Joya Williams, 42, that he was giving her a longer sentence than recommended by federal prosecutors and sentencing guidelines because, “This is the kind of offense that cannot be tolerated in our society.”
• Kenneth Lay, former Chairman of Enron, lost his job, faced a decades-long prison term for his fraud and died of a heart attack. Jeffrey Skilling, Enron's former CEO, is currently serving a 24-year, 4-month prison sentence.
• Hewlett-Packard's spy scandal: Carly Fiorina, former CEO, fired.
• Wal-Mart's spy scandal: Bruce Gabbard, security employee,

Unlike Belichick and the McLaren-Mercedes Formula One team 'Wacky Racers', none of the conventional business folks are out there 'enjoying the game' any more.

So, why is stealing money in the sports world treated differently?
What messages does this send to our children?

Corporate Spy: Industrial Espionage and Counterintelligence in the Multinational Enterprise


In May of 2006, PepsiCo alerted the Coca Cola Company that someone was trying to sell Coke’s secrets. An FBI sting implicated a secretary who has since been sentenced to eight years in federal prison for conspiring to steal trade secrets from the famous beverage maker.

How unusual was this case?
How frequently are businesses under attack?
How can they protect themselves?

Join Steeple Aston, PhD, author of Corporate Spy, as he uncovers the world of the corporate spies: who they are and how they operate. You’ll learn the warning signs and hear about some of the most dramatic cases of industrial espionage in recent years. (more)

International Spy Museum
800 F Street, NW Washington, DC 20004

She bootscoots. He taps. What could possibly go wrong?

Australia - The lawyer husband of slain West Australian Supreme Court registrar Corryn Rayney has become the prime suspect in his estranged wife's murder. Ms. Rayney disappeared after an evening bootscooting dance class on August 7, 2007.

Lloyd Rayney, the prominent lawyer, was arrested and charged with installing an illegal phone bugging device on the telephone in the Como house the couple had shared with their two daughters.

The dramatic new development came after police returned to search the Rayney home in Monash Street, forcing their way in after Mr. Rayney refused to answer the door. (more)

Pay Per Peep

Thousands of Big Brother viewers pay RealNetworks $40 a season to watch live footage from inside the CBS reality show's spycam-riddled house. (more)

China's Hot Stock: Orwell Inc.

The American economy may be teetering on the brink of a recession, but there's an industry our hedge fund gurus believe has an almost limitless future: the Chinese police state.

In a stunning report in the New York Times last week, correspondent Keith Bradsher documented the rise of China's electronic surveillance industry, whose leading companies have incorporated themselves in the United States and obtained the lion's share of their capital from U.S. hedge funds. Though ostensibly private, these companies are a for-profit adjunct of the Chinese government.

Li Runsen, technology director of the government's ministry of public security and the top cop policing China's Internet usage against the occasional appearance of a dangerous idea, now also moonlights as a director of China Security and Surveillance Technology, a company soon to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange. (more)

Mobile Phone Eavesdropping - a resurgence

Cell phones have become so much a part of our lives that we don't stop to think about the vulnerabilities unique to this technology.

For example, there is the simple act of eavesdropping.

How many times have you been the unwitting listener to someone else's phone conversation? It has become a profitable pastime for many.

There are two types of eavesdropping — casual and technical. Someone with an interest can, of course, overhear things you say on your cell phone. Never use it in a public place to call your bank, visit with your financial advisor or conduct any personal business. Don't use your cell phone to talk to automated banking or credit card systems where you speak your account numbers or personal identification numbers. New scanners have been developed which search airwaves for decodable cell signals. Think before you speak. (more)

More Snitch Gear Tales

The age-old business of breaking up has taken a decidedly Orwellian turn, with digital evidence like e-mail messages, traces of Web site visits and mobile telephone records now permeating many contentious divorce cases.

Photo - Jolene Barten-Bolender says she discovered a tracking device in a wheel well of the family car.

Spurned lovers steal each other’s BlackBerrys. Suspicious spouses hack into each other’s e-mail accounts. They load surveillance software onto the family PC, sometimes discovering shocking infidelities.

Divorce lawyers routinely set out to find every bit of private data about their clients’ adversaries, often hiring investigators with sophisticated digital forensic tools to snoop into household computers.

“In just about every case now, to some extent, there is some electronic evidence,” said Gaetano Ferro, president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, who also runs seminars on gathering electronic evidence. “It has completely changed our field.”

Privacy advocates have grown increasingly worried that digital tools are giving governments and powerful corporations the ability to peek into peoples’ lives as never before. But the real snoops are often much closer to home. (more)

CD Burner Burns You - and other snitch gear tales

Our gear is eating our privacy!
• Finger-pointing printers
• Cell phone surveillance
• Digital camera (finger) prints

CNBC explains how...

Friday, September 21, 2007

SpyCam Story #376 - Cross's Word Puzzle

AL - The origin of an FBI investigation of Lawrence County Commission offices, including the seizure of an apparent bugging system, could remain a mystery for months or longer.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Harwell G. Davis III placed the search warrant proceeding under seal Tuesday, prohibiting public access to the affidavit, the search warrant and the return of the search warrant. ...

FBI agents seized a clock radio purchased from the Alabama Spy Shop from the commission office. Agents seized the following items from Assistant County Administrator Karen Harrison's office: seven video cassettes, a digital display 12-channel receiver, one power supply, audio visual cables, coaxial cables and a receipt and purchase order from Alabama Spy Shop.

The bugging system had reportedly been in place since 2004.

Cross said he didn't know about the bugging system or why someone would install it. (more)

China and Russia Spying at Cold War Levels

Chinese and Russian spies are stalking the United States at levels close to those seen during the tense covert espionage duels of the Cold War, the top US intelligence officer warned Tuesday.

Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell raised the specter of a new era of clandestine intelligence wars during a House of Representatives hearing on a contentious new law on warrantless wiretapping. (more)

Caught Snooping, Husband Sues Spy Software Vendor

An Ohio man facing a lawsuit from his wife's friend for intercepting her emails using spyware on a household computer filed suit Friday against the spyware maker, arguing the company's ads failed to warn him that using it to monitor his family, including his wife, would violate state and federal laws.

Relying on a federal wiretap law that allows victims of spying to sue for damages, Jeffrey Havlicek argues that Deep Software, the Canadian company that sold him the key logger, should pay him thousands of dollars in damages and pay any claim from the lawsuit filed against him for spying illegally. (more)

Dumpster Diving in Singapore

In what Singapore's Chief Justice declared was the first time that questions of law have been raised here over the ownership of garbage, the courts allowed an appeal from a group of creditors who had a dump staked out, so as to dig up the dirt on their debtor.

Almost daily for six months, a group of private investigators hired by the creditors — various American investment funds — lurked around the common rubbish dump at Orchard Towers.

From a distance, they would watch cleaners deposit bags of trash. And after the cleaner contracted by two companies, Vestwin Trading and Hilltree Enterprise, made his drop-off, the investigators — taking care not to be spotted — moved in to pick up the bag of trash. (more)

Dumpster diving is alive and well. Take precautions. And, yes... the book is real. Buy it here, and find out how dumpster divers are trained!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Headline of the Week

"If You're Not Spying, You're Not Trying"
by George Solomon, Sports Columnist, The Washington Post
(from an article in which he discusses football spying)

Complaints of Courtroom Bugging

South Africa - Defence Counsel in the Boeremag treason trial on Monday complained bitterly that someone seemed to be listening in on their conversations during private consultations inside the courtroom.

One of the defence advocates, Bernard Bantjes, said he had recently found out that private consultations when the court was not sitting were allegedly being recorded, sent to a central computer and then erased once a week.

This was apparently despite recording equipment being switched off when the trial was not in sitting, he said.

Other defence advocates said they had also received complaints before that someone was listening in on their conversations, but chief prosecutor Paul Fick SC said this was the first time he heard of the allegation, and he was equally upset about it. (more)

National Football League will check on taping, radios, spying devices

The NFL is continuing to monitor spying devices after the penalties levied by commissioner Roger Goodell against the New England Patriots.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said Sunday that new memos on both videotaping and electronic surveillance of signals have gone out to all 32 teams reminding them of bans on the various types of surveillance.

''It's nothing new,'' Aiello said. ''We just want to remind people how the rules work.'' (more)

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Spy Claims Rock Women's World Cup

Denmark, ranked five places higher than China at six in the world, are understood to be fuming after rumours they were spied on during tactical sessions behind a two-way mirror wall.

It is understood Denmark had taken photos to provide evidence of the spying but had the camera stolen, and it all came to a head after the dramatic finish to the match when a member of the Denmark staff allegedly punched a Chinese counterpart.

New Zealand, who are in the same group, had been informed of spies at training sessions in Auckland before the World Cup and claim since arriving in China they have regularly been spied on at closed sessions. (more)

We're not surprised ...on both counts

from the police blotter...
"7:18 p.m. — Police were asked to check a woman's car because she thought her former boyfriend put a bugging device in it. The officers found nothing." (source)

Unfortunately, most people don't know that professional eavesdropping detection assistance is available. Whenever eavesdropping is suspected consult with one of them, first. For business eavesdropping concerns click here.

Internal "Affairs" II

NH - Patrolmen and sergeants within the Seabrook Police Department have filed an unfair labor practice against the department to get information on phone-recording devices they say allowed others to secretly record them. (more)

Internal "Affairs"

CA - A San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's spokesman said Monday that the department will make no comment on a high-ranking commander's accusation that the sheriff and undersheriff illegally spied on him in his office during a private meeting in late 2006.

Sheriff's Cmdr. Gary Hoving filed a $1.25 million claim against the county Friday, alleging Sheriff Pat Hedges and Undersheriff Steve Bolts illegally bugged his office in October 2006.

In the claim, Hoving, a 28-year veteran and the third-highest-ranking officer in the Sheriff's Department, accuses Hedges and Bolts of “unlawfully entering” his office in early October 2006 to place a concealed video camera in the ceiling.

The claim also alleges that Bolts attached an audio recording device to the common wall between Hedges' and Hoving's office with the intent of recording a “private” meeting between Hoving and Sgt. Jay Donovan.

The surveillance and recording equipment was operated from Hedges' office, according to the claim. (more)

McLaren fined $100m for spying

The McLaren-Mercedes Formula One team was on Thursday night fined $100m – a sum unprecedented in sport – and thrown out of this year’s F1 constructors’ championship by motor sport’s top judicial body.

The FIA World Motor Sport Council took the action after finding the Anglo-German team, which until Thursday night led the competition, guilty of fraudulent behaviour relating to a technical dossier belonging to rival Ferrari which was found in the possession of a senior employee.

In a further humiliation for both the McLaren team and DaimlerChrysler, which owns a 40 per cent stake, the council ruled that McLaren’s cars for the 2008 season would be assessed by independent inspectors to establish whether any secrets contained in the 780-page document had been utilised. (more)

Friday, September 14, 2007

Belichick Fined; Patriots Will Lose Pick

Patriots coach Bill Belichick has been fined the league maximum of $500,000, and the team has been ordered to pay $250,000 for illegally taping the New York Jets' sidelines during last Sunday's 38-14 win at the Meadowlands. (Belichick was warned last season when his spy cameraman, Matt Estrella, was caught on the sidelines in Green Bay.) ...

The Jets coach looked beyond paranoid when he put a paper shredder in the locker room to destroy practice plans. Somehow, that almost seems like a smart precaution now. If the Patriots are brazen enough to do this on the road, imagine what they're doing at home. The next team that travels to Foxboro should leave their special teams at home and bring CSI on the trip to sweep for bugs.

Think we're kidding? It's already happening. Kevin Murray, who runs a counter-espionage firm in Oldwick, has been hired by several NFL teams to secure team offices during sensitive contract negotiations. "I don't think they're paranoid," Murray said. "Just cautious." (more)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Those Wacky Racers

McLaren have been informed of another investigation into alleged spying after Italian prosecutors visited the British team at the Monza circuit on Saturday night.

The team are already due in Paris on Thursday to face the World Motor Sport Council for a second time about the affair after the arbitrators claimed they had uncovered new evidence.
McLaren were found guilty of fraudulent conduct after the first hearing but were not penalised due to a lack of evidence.

Italian prosecutors are still in proceedings against former Ferrari head of performance development Nigel Stepney, who is accused of sabotaging the team's cars at the Monaco grand prix.

The Italian authorities appear to be widening the investigation to include the alleged spying between Formula One's top two teams. (more)

The Nairobi Trio finds Work

Kenya - Is there a skeleton in your closet you hope will stay there forever? Something nobody knows about? Well, if that dark secret is communicated over phone, someone may know about it.

Without your consent, the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) wing of the police can now listen-in your phone conversation "for security reasons".

To set the eavesdropping programme rolling, the department has acquired a state of the art machine. The equipment, "a generous and timely donation" from Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC), is to aid in "taking the anti-graft crusade to the next level".

In its backyard, the anti-corruption body has a similar machine to monitor communication between specific subscribers. In the same league is the spy agency - National Security Intelligence Service (NSIS) - which was the first to acquire the machines.

The machine at the CID headquarters, Mazingira House off Kiambu Road, was secretly installed a few months ago and is being monitored by officers from the Criminal Intelligence Unit (CIU). (more)

Monday, September 10, 2007

SpyCam Story #375 - Football Spies

New York - The NFL is looking into claims a New England Patriots employee was videotaping signals by Jets coaches on New York's sideline during the season opener.

The investigation was first reported by, which said that NFL security confiscated a video camera and tape from a Patriots employee during New England's 38-14 victory Sunday. The employee was accused of aiming his camera at the Jets' defensive coaches, who were sending signals out to the players, sources told the Web site.

"The rule is that no video recording devices of any kind are permitted to be in use in the coaches' booth, on the field, or in the locker room during the game," the league said in a statement from spokesman Greg Aiello. "Clubs have specifically been reminded in the past that the videotaping of an opponent's offensive or defensive signals on the sidelines is prohibited. (more)

Art Imitates Life - Ars Electronica 2007

"Goodbye Privacy" -- Festival Ars Electronica 2007
A new culture of everyday life is now upon us, bracketed by the angst-inducing scenarios of seamless surveillance... One in which everything seems to be public and nothing is private anymore. Dates: September 5-11. Location: throughout the City of Linz (Austria).

One of the most interesting events is FACELESS - a 50 minute sci-fi movie made from CCTV surveillance footage

Synopsis - In a society under the reformed 'Real-Time' Calendar, without history nor future, everybody is faceless. A woman panics when she wakes up one day with a face. With the help of the Spectral Children she slowly finds out more about the lost power and history of the human face and begins the search for its future.

FACELESS was produced under the rules of the 'Manifesto for CCTV Filmmakers'. The manifesto states, amongst other things, that additional cameras are not permitted at filming locations, as the omnipresent existing video surveillance (CCTV) is already in operation. In fact, scenes are acted out in front of the CCTV cameras first, and the footage is later requested from whoever owns the CCTV system.

"RealTime orients the life of every citizen. Eating, resting, going to work, getting married – every act is tied to RealTime. And every act leaves a trace of data – a footprint in the snow of noise..."
(Faceless trailer)

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Are you as Bug-Free as Rugby?

UK - According to Sir Clive Woodward spying is a fact of rugby life, and England's rugby knight did not mind advertising the fact that he had World Cup changing rooms and team hotels swept for bugs. ... Spying has become so much a part of Test rugby that no tour, let alone a World Cup, would be complete without one coach pointing the finger at another. ... "We do our job no differently to any large corporation. If they were having any conferences they would make sure that rooms were bug-free and secure. We take security very seriously," added Woodward (more)

Madonna... U.N. Plugged

"Gonna save two weeks, Gonna have a fine vacation.
Gonna take my problem to the U-nited Nations."
Summertime Blues ~Eddie Cochran

from the press release... "A human rights abuse complaint has been submitted to the United Nations in the legal case Aisha v. Madonna (case no. 06-1389). A copy of the United Nations complaint is available online at

The complaint alleges conduct reminiscent of the unlawful tactics employed by now incarcerated private investigator, Anthony Pellicano, who has done work on behalf of singer Madonna and her attorney Bert Fields.

The case was submitted recently under the following alleged human rights violations, pursuant to Rule 86 of the United Nations Rules of Procedure."

COMPLAINT RE: Illegal hidden camera placed in my home, illegal telephone wiretapping, illegal listening devices placed on the inside and outside of my property, theft of over $250,000, theft of my $450,000 home, theft of my multi-billion dollar valued Copyrighted Catalog, customized death threats sent to my web site, choking assault incident, separately an attempted vehicular assault on August 9, 2007 and my mother’s (redacted online until investigation completes), in attempts to spitefully bankrupt us. (more)

Read, and decide for yourself. As Chuck Berry used to sing... "Too much monkey business for me to be involved in."

Friday, September 7, 2007

Teacher Faces Charge of Wiretapping (follow-up)

A Hancock County teacher went before a magistrate Friday on a charge she spied on another teacher. Police said 52-year-old Joyce Wells of New Cumberland, a teacher at the Rockefeller Vocational Center, placed a tape recorder inside the desk drawer of teacher Mary Stewart.

Wells pleaded not guilty.

Hancock County Prosecutor Jim Davis said the recording device was discovered by a third teacher. Davis said Wells wanted to catch Stewart ranting and raving at her students. Her next court date is September 28. (more)

Grab your gavel. Do you think eavesdropping was justified in this case?

Hamboneing SpyCam Pirates

Security guards equipped with night-vision goggles swirled around the auditorium, silently scoping out anyone who might have smuggled a camcorder into the theatre.

If the guards had caught anyone taping the film they could have kicked the patron out of the theatre. But getting a court conviction would have been tough, requiring proof of the pirate's intent to sell the recorded film.

This year, things are different.

As the Toronto film festival unspools this week, anyone caught just recording a movie without permission can be charged with a criminal offence, punishable by two years in jail.

(With affectionate thanks to Sandy Becker - New York's #1 Hambone.)

Chinese spying on British government computers

UK - China leads the list of countries hacking into government computers that contain Britain’s military and foreign policy secrets, Whitehall sources said yesterday.

One Whitehall source said that China was switching increasingly from “old-fashioned espionage” techniques to electronic hacking. The source said: “China is engaged in hostile intelligence activities, and instead of using the old-fashioned methods [recruiting agents and stealing blueprints], they are focusing on electronic means to hack into systems to discover Britain’s defence and foreign policy secrets, and they are technologically pretty advanced and adept at it.” (more)

Related stories...

Chinese spying on American government computers

Chinese spying on German government computers

Chinese spying on Canadian manufacturer computers
Chinese(?) spying on New Zealand government computers

Penalty Strokes

Japan - The TBS net and a TBS production subsidiary have punished 32 employees, including 19 execs, for ethical breaches in reporting various stories, net officials revealed Wednesday.

TBS reporters were found to be
eavesdropping on 15-year-old amateur golf sensation Ryo Ishikawa for daytime infotainment show "Ping Pong!"

The chief director responsible for the eavesdropping incident was given a pay cut while four employees involved were censured. (more)

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Sports Spies

Coaches more paranoid than ever about game secrets being snatched away...
The competition between media outlets, especially on-line services, to get immediate information to the public, has driven many college football coaches over the edge. ... Many of them have closed practices and scrimmages, or allowed the media in for the first 20 minutes and last 20 minutes of practice. But even that hasn't stopped the leakage. (more)

Refuse This Gift!

• Dials specified phone number upon sensing motion
• Listen in to your home to determine if intruder is a friend or foe
• Also functions as a regular phone

"Set the TeleSpy to dial your cell phone or your office, wherever you might be." (

This spy worked for royalty 400 years ago

Elizabeth's Spymaster: Francis Walsingham and the Secret War That Saved England By Robert Hutchinson

More than 400 years ago, England's Queen Elizabeth I appointed a single man in charge of both intelligence and security, with input on military strategy, too.

His covert staff covered nearly all of Europe. At his peak, he had 18 secret agents in foreign courts and 53 other spies besides those within Britain. He had many fewer scruples.

"Without torture I know we shall not prevail," Sir Francis Walsingham told his immediate boss. Walsingham was reporting to Elizabeth's chief minister, Lord Burghley, on a conspiracy centred on Mary Queen of Scots, who wanted to be Queen of England, too. (more)

Undiscovered Wiretaps are Expensive...

...thus, making periodic inspections for them look cheap.
The Greek unit of telecom equipment maker Ericsson has been fined €7.36 million (US$10 million) by Greece's communication privacy watchdog over a wiretapping scandal that targeted the mobile phones of more than 100 public figures. (more)
Want your wiretaps discovered? Call us.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Laser Beam Eavesdropping

Laser beam eavesdropping...
Here is a subject that pops up every few years, grabs the press and public by the nostrils, hitches them to the paranoia pony and drags them around kicking and screaming with fear and delight.

We built an LBE to put client fears into perspective when the subject urped up in the 80's. You can read all about
it here.

Another experimenter has published an admirable update here.

Movie versions about LBEs may be seen here and here.

Bottom line...

Technically, a lot of fun and very impressive
Realistically, this is not an eavesdropping threat for most people. Relax.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Chinese spying on American government computers

The Chinese military hacked into a Pentagon computer network in June in the most successful cyber attack on the US defence department, say American ­officials.

The Pentagon acknowledged shutting down part of a computer system serving the office of Robert Gates, defense secretary, but declined to say who it believed was behind the attack.

Current and former officials have told the Financial Times an internal investigation has revealed that the incursion came from the People’s Liberation Army. (more)

The Germans are also complaining about similar attacks. (more)

Monday, September 3, 2007

Ex-spy says he's new Messiah

Former spy David Shayler is to tour the country to tell people he is the Messiah . . . and spread his message of unconditional love.

The MI5 whistleblower, who claims to be receiving messages from Yeshua — believed to be the Hebrew name for Jesus — is now living in a log cabin in Devon with friends and admits his family are worried about him.

Despite this, Teesside- born Shayler is determined to carry on with his plan.

He said: “I am an incarnate of Jesus. I have not spoken to rabbis or priests about it. I am getting stuff directly from the big man.

“I am not having a breakdown. I have not seen a doctor. I do not need to see one. I am absolutely sane. “I have no doubt in my heart I am the Messiah. (more)

You may remember David from the TV show Spy School on the old TechTV channel. Other David Shayler stories...
Shayler suspects TV repair man of bugging his home
Spies will face mental health check to prevent embarrassing mistakes
Shayler: hero of free speech, or the spy who loved himself?

SpyCam Helps 'Clear the Air', or... Ionic Irony Eyes

A spy camera system concealed in an air purifier automatically records images on a removable memory card upon Video Motion Detection.

No need to hassle with complicated camera and VCR wiring or wireless cameras that transmit your images all over the neighborhood! The new MC/Air Purifier-Camera/DVR (digital video recorder) is completely self contained, totally secure, and easy to use. All functions of the Air Purifier work normally and the hidden B&W low light, high resolution camera is totally invisible. (more)

Saturday, September 1, 2007

"Hoist by his own petard"

UK - A father of two who campaigned for increased security on the estate where he lives has been convicted of causing damage in order to further his cause - after being caught on the very CCTV cameras he petitioned for.

Cheeky Liam Jordan had complained to the police and housing association of repeated acts of vandalism at his flat complex in the run down area of Seacroft, Leeds, West Yorks.

He even went as far as organising a neighbourhood watch meeting about the problem, and spoke to the local newspapers about his plight, calling for CCTV to be installed.

And amazingley, it was the very CCTV footage he fought for which caught him smashing a neighbour's window. (more)

"Listen. do-da-do Do you want to know a secret?"

UK - Liverpool's ruling Liberal Democrats have switched crucial meetings away from council-run Millennium House, in Victoria Street, because they fear it is bugged.

Their councillors have moved important gatherings to the town hall, hoping the use of the council chamber will guard against political espionage and eavesdropping during private sessions of the group.

Last night, former Labour leader Frank Prendergast admitted he had been able to pick up a private Lib-Dem meeting – on his hearing aid. (more)