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Contemporary developments in surveillance technology



In the past couple of years, there have been substantial advances both in technology designed to conduct surveillance operations, and in counter-measures. Here we set out for you some of the principal lessons if you want to engage in surveillance upon someone else; or if you fear it.


  1. The most important point to make is that whereas information about this subject used to be confined to the intelligence agencies and their private security company proxies, now it is much easier both to learn about this subject from public sources (there are a number of books) and indeed to purchase relevant equipment publicly. We have the Chinese to thank for this. They have started mass production of equipment for sale that was previously available only through specialist 'spy shops' and at vastly elevated prices.

  2. Contemporary bugs may record audio and/or video. They can be very small indeed: far too small for the naked eye to spot when checking out a hotel room, for example.

  3. Nevertheless they all have a limitation of six to (absolute maximum) 12 hours' battery time. So they need to be frequently replaced by hotel cleaning staff, etcetera.

  4. A device for sweeping a room for bugs can now be purchased for as little as USD40 on Amazon. It detects electromagnetic radiation. The intelligence agencies will pretend that no such devices exist; but they are lying. They do, and they are cheap and easy to use.

  5. Remember to sweep the room every time you enter it, given that a person installing a bug has to renew it every 6-12 hours and may move the location of the bug and so on and so forth.

  6. The main bug to be aware of is your own mobile telephone. You can now buy a 'Faraday bag', a bag preventing the emission of electromagnetic radiation, in which to store your telephone and other potentially hacked devices. They cost as little as USD30. They are not legal in all jurisdictions.

  7. The best way of screening a person for bugs is to use a hyper-sensitive wand-like metal detector. They cost about USD150.

  8. If you want to bug someone else, use a micro-CCTV camera. These cost as little as USD50. It must be connected to the internet. It is so small that it cannot be detected with the naked eye. But it can of course be detected with an EMR wand. Remember that you only have six hours or so with it before you need to replace it with a fully charged one.

  9. White noise generators no longer work to prevent the recording of conversations. Software can distil out the white noise. The only way of preventing interception of conversations is to take your counterpart's mobile telephone and place it in a Faraday bag

  10. Don't forget that televisions can serve as bugs; and they are too large to place in a Faraday bag! Pull them out from the wall socket, along with any other suspicious electronic items.

  11. Never forget the cardinal rule of bugging: so what? Let them bug you. It will waste hours of their time listening to / watching you, just as when intelligence agencies or others decide to tap your 'phone and/or take records of your instant messages. Don't make these people's lives easy. Overload them with irrelevant nonsense, ideally in multiple obscure languages. And don't do compromising things on mission, unless you are aiming to create a decoy.

  12. Finally, never neglect the benefits of having multiple hotel rooms. One is expensive and is where your general luggage is kept; indeed you can fill it with misleading nonsense if you fear an in-person luggage search. The other hotel room is cheap and simple and it is where you keep yourself and your most intimate possessions and data.