If you watch TV at all, you hear continual references to closed circuit TV. In fact, if you spend time in the UK or other European countries you will see them everywhere. We realize that makes some people feel uneasy, but there are two sides to surveillance equipment.
The Crime Prevention Side of Surveillance Equipment
Not sure if I should call it crime prevention because it only seems to deter those who respect the law to begin with, but cameras can be installed inside and around public space and places of business to:
- Record evidence of theft and other wrongdoing such as vandalism. Authorities routinely use CC TV recordings to identify robbers and submit images to the public for help in apprehending the perpetrators. Employers often install covert surveillance cameras in warehouses and retail spaces to watch for theft.
- Harassment is an issue in schools, public places and in the workplace. With hate crimes, sexual and physical harassment as well as, CC TVs once again provide an accurate record of events. From videos of behavior and actions on school buses to confrontations in the streets, cameras are a tool to determine the actual sequence of events.
- Be on the lookout for inappropriate behavior by nannies, maids and service providers. Parents wanting to protect their children often install electronic surveillance equipment in their homes to make sure their children are safe.
The Criminal (or at least Bad Behavior) Side of Surveillance Equipment
Electronic surveillance and listening devices are used for a variety of reasons by Bad Guys. At we are called on to do cell phone forensics, spyware detection, computer forensics, bug sweeps and conduct Technical Surveillance Countermeasures (TSCM) in many different situations. These are the most predominant:
- When there are high level business meetings or board meetings to make critical decisions, we are often called in to be certain that any covert surveillance devices or listening devices are uncovered and removed. With the proliferation of cell phones rather than the use of land lines, the incidence of phone tapping has been replaced with cell phone spying. But any phones present are also checked. Cell phones are now usually collected before entry into meetings on this level.
- Computer surveillance is often employed by Bad Guys in labs and research areas where new products and innovations are being developed. The level of corporate espionage has advanced along with technology. Again, through TSCM as well as computer forensics (to remove spyware and malware), works with business leaders to maintain confidentiality.
- Eavesdropping devices are placed in offices and vehicles that allow Bad Guys to listen in on conversations between business people and partners. Mobile phone tapping or infiltrating cell phones to make them into cell phone spies is akin to cell phone tapping. Spy equipment makes it easy for people in personal relationships to keep tabs on significant others. Stalkers and cheaters are uncovered when cell phone forensics reveals spyware.
Covert surveillance equipment, just like cell phones and other technology can be used for good purposes as well as for criminal or bad reasons. It’s the user, not the technology. But uses technology to find the truth and the facts. It’s all in the purpose for which it’s used.
-Brenda McGinley, CEO, All in Investigations, All in Investigations