In today’s highly advanced technical age, very often the common person can conduct some research, click on some links, learn a lot in a limited amount of time and trace down all kinds of information.
But of course, even in this age of finding a lot about a lot in a limited amount of time, still has professional access to data bases that are unavailable to the average person.
Then, we also make it our business to remain on the cutting edge of technology, especially regarding digital forensics, forensic computer analysis and forensic data recovery. Even with technology expanding in those directions, some people forget about the need for Technical Surveillance Countermeasures, or TSCM. Some believe that the collection of cell phones, tablets and other electronics at the door of a conference room is enough.
While phone taps on land lines may be close to extinction in some areas of the world, it’s definitely not in all – especially the corporate world. There are still phones and phone networks in most office today around the world. And where there are phones, phone tapping devices are being used.
But before we talk about that, let’s talk about how spy listening devices and spy surveillance is still a problem for the business world. is frequently called in to do a “bug sweep” on corporate offices or conference rooms when high-level or highly confidential meetings are going to take place. You can be sure TSCM is a regular occurrence in political offices – for all the obvious reasons. But they are important to corporations, too. The reasons vary, but could include:
- New product development
- Succession planning
- Strategic Planning
- Personnel or corporate restructuring
- Corporate sales, purchases or mergers
Anything that could shake the trees and create turbulence in an organization is confidential and could be problematic if word leaks out in advance.
TSCM Reveals the Unsuspected
Let me tell you about one situation that took a few business leaders by surprise.
ABC Company was having a great run over the last few years: new products, growth in sales and staff. At the beginning of every year there were high-level meetings where the principals planned their next steps in the short and long terms. But in this one particular year some suspicious events had occurred making them worry that the competition was in on their ideas and plans. Nothing concrete, just an uneasy feeling shared by a couple of them.
So they called in to do some electronic bug detection. We call it a TSCM sweep, but others call it a bug sweep. Anyway, we came in after hours with our equipment. It didn’t take but a couple of minutes and the alarms were ringing and flashing. We had something. In fact, we had several somethings. Spy equipment including listening devices and covert surveillance cameras were located.
They were shocked and immediately began to name all the suspects, which included several other companies. We continued the TSCM services and removed the devices. In doing so, we were able to uncover that the devices led us to three offices INSIDE their organization.
The offices were of three vice presidents, just below the level of the participants in the strategy planning sessions. They were aghast that these three people could possibly be behind the spy surveillance equipment.
However, they confronted each of them. In the end, it was uncovered that the three were strategizing their rise in the organization and used the information they got from the spy equipment to bolster their career paths.
Employee theft and corporate espionage are both in the back of every business leader’s minds. Suspecting employees, especially high level employees, to use spy equipment for their own gain doesn’t often come to mind. It didn’t for this group.
At we don’t think suspect as much as we search. We search for data, facts and the truth. We use technology from the past, good old detective work and the new technology as well. It’s all in an effort to provide you with the information you need to make good, solid decisions.
-Brenda McGinley, CEO, All in Investigations, All in Investigations