Counter surveillance is the art and science of locating invasive electronic intelligence-gathering devices. Surveillance is used as a weapon in personal vendettas, business competitions, international espionage and all forms of legal litigation. Anyone who is under electronic surveillance is deprived of their privacy, at the very least, and can suffer far worse effects, depending on the exact nature of the spying technique used against them.
This treatise profiles effective measures of eliminating surveillance threats against a person or organization.
Counter Surveillance Equipment
Technical surveillance counter measures equipment generally all works on similar principles. However, entry level gear is unlikely to provide the quality and dependability of high-end professional devices. The most common form of TSCM device is a simple radiofrequency detector, also called an RF detector. This device can find radio signals which are used by hidden microphones, hidden video cameras, phone bugs and other devices. However, not all surveillance equipment uses RF technology.
To find all varieties of electronic surveillance, an investigator must be prepared with other forms of detection equipment: A magnetic field detector is valuable for finding devices which record, but do not transmit intelligence. Other small devices can locate unknown sources of electronic noise, which is often emitted by digital recorders and some cameras.
The basic equipment needed for general TSCM includes non-linear junction detectors, volt/ohm meters, radio frequency scanner, spectrum analyzers, time domain reflectometers, oscilloscopes and hand tools for the removal of protective covers often used to hide surveillance devices.
Specialized computer software is useful for finding information gathering threats on a computer or network. Specialists in computer forensic investigation should be hired to fully diagnose any cases of suspected hacking or spyware.
Finally, portable x-ray devices, such as fluoroscopy machines, are very handy for looking into hidden areas, such as inside walls or ceilings to find cameras or bugs.
Counter Surveillance Investigations
A TSCM investigator is an expert trained in private security and typically has extensive experience dealing with competitive intelligence work. Many of these professionals are current or former government employees or contractors and the best are responsible for safeguarding national security. Therefore, they should have no problem protecting your home or office from the prying eyes and ears of anyone who wants to use intelligence gathering techniques against you, your family or your business.
It is certainly possible to perform do-it-yourself TSCM investigations using inexpensive equipment, but do not expect to find advanced electronics with these basic measures. However, simply looking for items, such as a nanny cam inside a home, is fast, easy and cheap, using entry-level counter intelligence equipment.
Counter Surveillance Operations
Your TSCM solution should match your needs and fears. If you suspect that someone may be using a hidden camera against you to violate your privacy, it should be easy to catch them using the most basic counter intelligence measures. However, if you suspect that a competitor may be spying on your business, there may be much more involved technologies involved, which will likely require a professional investigator to discover.
Either way, make sure you know the letter of the law when it comes to surveillance measures. If you suspect that your rights have been violated, or know for sure that someone has broken the law by spying on you, be sure to contact police immediately and do not confront the person or organization yourself. Doing so can only jeopardize the criminal investigation against them.