Surveillance Techniques

To assist in collecting evidence to support a client’s case, Blackhawk Intelligence’s surveillance teams have a number of tools and surveillance techniques at their disposal to prove without doubt the location of an asset or an individual and their activities. We can even deploy counter measures that help prevent sensitive information leaking out of a client’s domain.

Static CCTV surveillance techniques

If only Jimmy Saville had been caught on camera . . . the thought of all those children being spared his abuse underlines the importance of covert TV and audio in certain conditions.

CCTV installation is often justified when used to legally identify any wrongdoings, such as theft or misconduct at work or a carer suspected of neglecting a family member in his or her care. Insurance and law firms use it to provide evidence of illegal disability and personal injury claims.

High-quality evidence gained on camera by trained professionals from agencies such as Blackhawk, who know and abide by the law, can often settle cases quicker and save a company time and money. It can be used in any legal proceedings or as an intelligence tool to gain leverage.

There is nothing illegal about following a person in public or filming them in a public place. But setting up covert CCTV on private property or embedding it in personal items such as a phone or TV is against the law, unless the courts allow it.

Subject or asset tracking and location with GPS tracking

It’s hard to escape GPS – even if the tracked individual leaves their GPS-equipped vehicle and enters a bar, investigators wearing hidden cameras can still film them inside at a high-quality level. GPS will relay to a special website precisely where someone is at any particular time. Blackhawk, for instance, can install covert vehicle tracking systems that can monitor the subject’s actions live on a smartphone or laptop.

Corporate investigators are particularly fond of using the covert asset tracker, a GPS system the size of a matchbox and attachable by magnet to any vehicle or other metal surface. Equipped with a motion sensor, It only starts signalling when the vehicle starts to move.

The agency can also set up “geo fences” – a new feature on Windows 8 – to define a specific geographical area and inform the user when a subject is leaving that area.

GPS is particularly useful when monitoring someone 24/7. Before its appearance, if you lost your target, the whole investigation could fail. This way you know exactly where your subject is. Blackhawk has a high success rate in tracing and then monitoring suspects, saving clients time and money.

Counter measures employing electronic sweeps

Industrial espionage is growing as markets go global and criminal elements realise the value of intellectual property and trade secrets. £21bn is a recent estimate of losses in the UK to industrial espionage; and cyber fraud is now said to be four times the size of the UK drugs trade.

Data theft is growing ever more sophisticated. “Spies” have mastered special interviewing techniques designed to release information from unsuspecting colleagues, they mill around trade shows posing as repair men, and some are reported to be using laser equipment that can pick up conversations some distance away by recording vibrations off windows.

In response, corporate investigation agencies such as Blackhawk undertake technical surveillance countermeasures (TSCM), using the latest 4G equipment to sweep meeting places for bugs and other eavesdropping devices. TSCM prevents any leak of confidential information and detects illegal monitoring, thus dissuading rivals, staff and criminals from taking advantage.

Blackhawk can carry out sweeps periodically and then supply a security report, summarising essential measures a client needs to take to improve a company’s future data security. Blackhawk also offers company-wide training sessions for staff as part of a security strategy designed to crack down and hopefully eliminate future corporate espionage.