Technology has changed just about everything about life, hasn’t it? Well, that pertains to the investigative world, too.
In the early 1970s, when did Technical Surveillance and Countermeasures (TSCM) sweeps, we were basically looking for radio room bugs and telephone line taps.
Bad guys would generally need to have access to the location to plant eavesdropping devices. Bugs could be planted by a “fake” service technician who comes to handle a service call (that you didn’t make). He would access phone lines and install some sort of surveillance equipment. There were also those who would pick a lock and sneak in to bug a phone or climb a gutter to plant a bug.
The equipment we needed to do a bug sweep could be contained in about three suitcases. Computers changed everything so we use electronic bug detection equipment now.
TSCM sweeps routinely include cell phones and computers as well as the traditional bug detection. Spyware and bugs are found embedded in cell phones and computers most usually through remote means like e-mails, messages and photos. That means the ol’ fake service tech doesn’t need to have physical access any longer. We do still uncover physically planted surveillance equipment so you need to understand that technology has not been completely replaced.
Bug detection has evolved to keep up with the changes in planting bugs. One thing remains true, however, “bugging” has not gone away. It is just different than it was 50 years ago. Chances are that bug detection and bug sweeps will look even more different in the next 50 years!
-Brenda McGinley, CEO, All in Investigations, All in Investigations