Espionage and counter-espionage is a field that few companies really consider seriously, which is a mistake in today’s highly competitive industrial markets. We hear of stories where sensitive information has been acquired through whistleblowers. Perhaps the highest profile news in this area is that of Edward Snowden. And, of course, the continual dripping of sensitive leaked government information through Wikileaks by it’s founder, Julian Assange. But how about something a little closer to business, espionage in sport.
Looking for that competitive edge
Everyone is out to find an edge against their competitors. Luckily most do this legitimately using corporate business intelligence services. Others though? Well, let’s just say . . . no so much.
One of the latest and we think more interesting stories, as it should make even smaller operations sit up and take note, comes from New Zealand and the sport of rugby. How on earth could the sport of rugby fall foul to stories of espionage? Apparently, the All Blacks rugby team had their hotel team meeting room bugged recently. Quite a sophisticated listening device was found hidden in a chair.
The All Blacks were due to play the Wallabies recently and so vital strategy information concerning the match would have been transmitted. Naturally, both the local police and the hotel have started their own investigations.
This was obviously quite a skilled and sophisticated eavesdropping operation and one can only assume that as such the device was meticulously placed. So how did the All Blacks become aware of it? Of course, it could have been discovered by accident. But did they have some reason to suspect the room may have been bugged, even after the fact?
Corruption in the sporting world
The sporting world is no stranger to bribery and corruption, with plenty of high level cases over the years. More recently, cases concerning FIFA and Sepp Blatter and at the Rio Olympics , Europe’s top Olympic official, Patrick Hickey was arrested for being part of an alleged ticket scam. So, should we be surprised to read about cases of espionage using advanced technologies best suited to the stuff of spy movies in the sporting world? Probably not, it’s inevitable.
Any sport where money changes hands, particularly between third parties, such as in the gambling industry, is going to attract it’s fair share of criminal activity. It’s only a surprise it has happened sooner. After all, James Bond has been using this stuff for over 50 years, and much of that tech is available over the counter these days. Eavesdropping devices nowadays can be incredibly small and don’t need to transmit that far to be highly effective.
Significant implications for other business too
It’s a clear warning to even smaller business operations, especially those involved in overseas operations to take security seriously. Off-site meetings are always susceptible to eavesdropping. Sensitive meetings, especially where game plans and competitive business strategy is being discussed, should be held under secure conditions. Unfortunately, most companies and higher profile sporting teams don’t give this enough consideration. Even your own facilities can become infiltrated and compromised. All it takes is a simple bug sweep.
Espionage is serious business, for all businesses
Take espionage seriously. While espionage and counter espionage may sound like the stuff of movies, it’s real and affecting companies today. Taking counter-espionage measures can be as simple as having a counter-surveillance plan in place. Before teams or business executives arrive, have an arrangement with a counter-surveillance company like Blackhawk, to make sure a meeting room or venue is clean from eavesdropping devices; audio or visual.
The technology is there to protect you or be used against you – it’s your choice.
So you thought espionage was just the domain of spy movies and governments?
Espionage and counter-espionage is a field that few companies really consider seriously, which is a mistake in today’s highly competitive industrial markets. We hear of stories where sensitive information has been acquired through whistleblowers.
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