Situations and Professions at High Risk for Covert Surveillance.

This week we explore the situations and people  most likely to be covertly surveilled.  At the end of this article, we list the FBI‘s top professions most likely to encounter bugging situations.

Given the proliferation and ease of use now of “bugging” devices, the probability of being secretly recorded is higher than ever.   So under what circumstances and which professions are most likely to get bugged?

In Business

– Companies that have publicly traded stock (even more at risk, those about to IPO)

– Corporate entities experiencing labor problems, union activities or are in negotiation situations.

– Companies involved in any type of litigation or lawsuit.

– Businesses anticipating layoffs

– Companies involved in the fashion, automotive, advertising or marketing industries.

While anyone can be the target of covert eavesdropping, some people are at a higher risk than others because of financial status, occupation, legal or domestic situation.  These targets may include:

– Spouses involved in a divorce, child custody case or other serious financial situation.

– Teen drivers and kids (by their parents/guardians)

– Professors (by their students)

– Business people among themselves (intra/extra-company)

– Claimants by insurance companies

– Clients by salespeople

This list goes on ad infinitum, so when should you be seriously concerned?

You (and or someone close to you) is or have been:

– Involved in any type of litigation or lawsuit

– Been questioned or arrested by the police

– In the process of getting married, divorced, separated or recently widowed

– Running for any type of elected public office

– Recently filed an insurance claim

– Are an executive or scientist at any large company

– Engaged in political demonstrations or activism

– Are in the upper income brackets

Extreme High Risk Businesses  (info provided by the FBI):

Materials:

  • Materials synthesis and processing
  • Electronic and photonic materials
  • Ceramics
  • Composites
  • High-performance metals and alloys

Manufacturing:

  • Flexible computer-integrated manufacturing
  • Intelligence processing equipment
  • Micro- and nano-fabrication
  • Systems management technologies

Information and Communications:

  • Software
  • Micro and optoelectronics
  • High-performance computing and networking
  • High-definition imaging and displays
  • Sensors and signal processing
  • Data storage and peripherals
  • Computer simulation and modeling

Biotechnology and Life Sciences:

  • Applied molecular biology
  • Computational Chemistry
  • Medical technology

Transportation:

  • Aeronautics
  • Surface transportation technologies

Energy and enviroment:

  • Energy technologies
  • Pollution minimization, remediation and waste management

Finally, we look at those professions that are particularly target for covert surveillance.

High Threat Occupations (again, according to the FBI):

– Attorney

– Doctor

– Chiropractor

– Dentist

– Architect

– Police Officer

– Court Clerk

– Judge

– Elected official

– Mayor

– Selectman

– School Principal

– Professor

– Product Engineer

– Software Developer

– Executive/Scientist at a large development company

– Employees at defense contracting companies

– Ministers and other religious leaders

– Corporate Buyer or Purchasing Agent

– Labor or Union Official

– Fashion employees

– Advertising personnel

– Personnel managers

Paranoia is unnecessary; vigilance required.

BNI Operatives; Situationally aware.

As always, stay safe.

GPS Tracking; Legal?

gps

Recently a judge in New Jersey ruled that use of a GPS device to track a cheating spouse is not an invasion of privacy.  The premise for the ruling is that both parties shared the family vehicle and therefore, either could place the monitoring device on said vehicle. In an attempt to clarify the states’ position on GPS tracking, we held an informal study amongst our peers and researched existing legislation (including that also connected to wiretapping and privacy laws).

As best we can ascertain, there appears to be no definitive list of  state by state rulings on GPS devices and their placement on personal vehicles. Many states require the consent of the vehicle’s registered owner. Although the Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that law enforcement agencies’ use of a GPS monitoring device constitutes an “illegal search” and that the potential surveillance subject is therefore protected against this type of monitoring under the Fourth Amendment, that clarity of use as of GPS tracking has not yet been legally defined for private sector use.

According to our knowledgeable friends at Brick House Security (NYC), it is  generally considered to be fair and legal usage of a GPS tracking device if:

  • You or your company own the vehicle.
  • You or your company do not own the vehicle, but you place the GPS device on the outside of the car — (e.g., under the rear bumper).
  • The vehicle is visible to the public — (e.g., in a parking lot or on a public street).
  • You could obtain the same information by physically trailing the vehicle.
  • The vehicle is not situated on someone else’s private property.

It’s generally illegal to use a GPS tracking device if:

  • You need to break into the vehicle to situate the device.
  • You need to physically hardwire the device inside the vehicle.
  • The vehicle is in a place where its owner has a reasonable expectation of privacy — in a private garage.

My suggestion for those wishing to engage in GPS surveillance of a subject, is to contact local police in the desired area of surveillance and ask within.

For additional GPS tracking related information, please read one of our  earlier articles on the subject, below linked.

Our Operatives: Street smart: info savvy.

As always, stay safe.

Your Tattletale License Plates

lps (3)

The Automatic License Plate Recognition (ALPR) scanning systems are one of the newest law enforcement technologies. The system consists of cameras mounted on police cars, hooked up to a computer inside the vehicle.  License plates images are scanned and matched to a real-time centralized database. This database flags vehicles that have been identified as

  • Stolen Vehicles
  • Wanted for an Amber Alert
  • Expired Registration
  • Expired Insurance
  • Wanted as “Persons of Interest” for any investigation
  • Suspended Driver’s License
  • Outstanding Criminal Warrant
  • Outstanding Municipal Taxes or other Fines and Fees
  • Are Wanted for any other government purpose

The system is matched to the vehicle’s owner via a DMV database. So, you can just be driving along and find yourself pulled over by the police, not having committed any traffic violation.

How Many License Tags Can Be Scanned?

Short answer: thousands of tags per hour.  One police car parked on the side of a road can scan just about every car in sight, including one driving in the opposite direction at 70 miles an hour.  (No, the answer is not to drive 80 mph +.)

What Happens To The Scanned Images?

Every image is time, date and location saved.  Permanently.  So now reports of your driving locations (whether you were stopped or not) have become records and collected into various databases: those of state and local law enforcement, DMVs and the FBI‘s National Crime Information Center (NCIC).

The Problem, You Ask?

As more systems go online and interconnect across local, state and federal jurisdictions,  police can easily identify the touch points of any scanned tag’s vehicle location.

You can easily imagine the knock on your door if you (probably unknowingly… I allot the benefit of the doubt), stopped in front of  a known drug dealing location, parked by a wanted person’s vehicle or passed a toll directly behind a person suspected of a crime.  BTW, how many times have you attended political events?  Call the cops, they’ll let you know.

The truth is that the use this placement data can be used as circumstantial evidence against you and we’ll soon find many innocent people in court, defending their drive down Main Street.

Aren’t These License Tag Scanners Violating My Rights??

No.  According to the law, you have no expectation of privacy while out in public.  This has already been through the courts which have upheld that police officers are allowed to randomly run license tags as they pass by.

In the case of United States of America, Plaintiff-appellee, v. Charles N. Matthews, the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit held that a “license plate was in plain view on the outside of the car” and hence, is “subject to seizure” because there is no reasonable expectation of privacy.

In the case of United States of America, Plaintiff v. Curtis Ellison, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held:

Thus, so long as the officer had a right to be in a position to observe the defendant’s license plate, any such observation and corresponding use of the information on the plate does not violate the Fourth Amendment.

These new ALRP scanning systems simply allow the scanning to be more comprehensive in the number of tags scanned and permanent.

Bottom line.

Someone should be asking if any restrictions exist on the use of this data to check up on ordinary Joes and Janes, going about their regular business.

BNI Operatives: Street smart; info savvy. 

As always, stay safe.

Hidden Camera Statutes

LEGAL  (E.G., NURSING HOME)

nursing home

ILLEGAL (E.G., RESTROOM)

covert recording

Generally speaking, it is  legal in the United States to record surveillance video with a hidden camera in your home without the consent of the person you’re recording.   But before you place a hidden camera or nanny cam in your home, bear in mind that in most states, it’s illegal to record hidden camera video in areas where your subjects have a reasonable expectation of privacy. In a private residence, these areas might include bathrooms and bedrooms (including a live-in nanny’s bedroom).

Also understand that  it’s illegal in the United States to record video (or audio) with “malicious intent.” Just because one follows all other laws governing covert surveillance in one’s state, that right is  waived once criminal behavior is involved.

State hidden camera statutes 

The laws of 13 states expressly prohibit the unauthorized installation or use of cameras in private places:

– Alabama, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, South Dakota and Utah, installation or use of any device for photographing, observing or overhearing events or sounds in a private place without the permission of the people photographed or observed is against the law. A private place is one where a person may reasonably expect to be safe from unauthorized surveillance.

– Alabama, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, South Dakota and Utah also prohibit trespassing on private property to conduct surveillance of people there. In most of these states, unauthorized installation or use of a hidden camera, or trespassing to install or use one, is a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine. In Maine, the privacy violation is a felony. In Michigan, unauthorized installation or use of a hidden camera is a felony, punishable by a $2,000 fine and up to two years in prison.

Several states have laws prohibiting the use of hidden cameras only in certain circumstances, such as in locker rooms or restrooms, or for the purpose of viewing a person in a state of partial or full nudity.

In all situations, it is best to err on the side of caution and exercise ethical restraint.

BNI Operatives: Street smart, info savvy.

As always, be safe.