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Espionage frequently involves an individual obtaining (i.e., using human intelligence or HUMINT methods) information that is considered secret or confidential without the permission of the holder of the information. Espionage is inherently clandestine, as the legitimate holder of the information may change plans or take other countermeasures once it is known that the information is in unauthorized hands. See this link on HUMINT for the basic concepts of such information collection, and subordinate articles such as clandestine HUMINT operational techniques and clandestine HUMINT asset recruiting for discussions of the "tradecraft" used to collect this information.
Signals intelligence or SIGINT is intelligence-gathering by interception of signals, whether between people (i.e., COMINT or communications intelligence) or between machines (i.e., ELINT or electronic intelligence), or mixtures of the two.
As sensitive information is often encrypted, signals intelligence often involves the use of cryptanalysis. However, traffic analysis, the study of who is signaling whom and in what quantity, can often produce valuable information, even when the messages themselves cannot be decrypted.
There are numerous technological ways for countries to spy on each other without ever sending an actual spy to collect information. Satellites equipped with cameras have been tracking the positions of military units since the 1960s. At first, the satellite would drop a bucket with the film inside over the ocean. In 1970, digital film technology was first developed, allowing the satellites to transmit the photographic data by radio. Today's UAV's and spy satellites can take photographs with a high enough resolution to read the headline on a newspaper.
On January 18, 2009, United Launch Alliance's Delta IV Heavy rocket carrying a payload for the National Reconnaissance Office successfully lifted off from Space Launch Complex 37 at CCAFS at 9:47 p.m. EST (0247 UTC) on January 18, 2009. A more recent development has NSA Whistleblower Russel Tice, who back in 2006 had exposed the NSA program illegalities, stating publically that the Bush administration was spying on and targeting journalists and had access to all Americans phone calls, emails and computer communications. This documentary explains how the CIA pioneered, developed, manipulated prisoner abuse, sold drugs, changed regimes and killed millions of people worldwide.
COINTELPRO Revisited Spying and Disruption
"COINTELPRO" was the FBI's secret program to undermine the popular upsurge which swept the country during the 1960s. Though the name stands for "Counterintelligence Program," the targets were not enemy spies. The FBI set out to eliminate "radical" political opposition inside the US. When traditional modes of repression (exposure, blatant harassment, and prosecution for political crimes) failed to counter the growing insurgency, and even helped to fuel it, the Bureau took the law into its own hands and secretly used fraud and force to sabotage constitutionally-protected political activity. Its methods ranged far beyond surveillance, and amounted to a domestic version of the covert action for which the CIA has become infamous throughout the world. [See: CIA's spy tools] In recent decades social control has become more specialized and technical and, in many ways, more penetrating and intrusive.
Spread of Industrial Espionage
With the advent of modern technology, the methods employed have also improved. The invention of the mini spy camera has pushed industrial espionage to new heights (or lows, depending on how you look at it), such that it is virtually impossible to prevent intellectual property theft. Thanks to innovation and technology loss prevention Security Systems are getting much better. There are now new systems, which have audio plus video, which increases the effectiveness of the Security System. Indeed, the detection of Internet spies is easier compared to spies who use mini spy cameras to record confidential information. [See: Industrial espionage]
Long gone are the days of simple wiretapping, when the worst your phone could do was let someone listen in to your conversations. The new generation of cell phone spying tools provides a lot more power. Eavesdropping is easy. All it takes is a two-minute software install and someone can record your calls and monitor your text messages. They can even set up systems to be automatically alerted when you dial a certain number, then instantly patched into your conversation. Anyone who can perform a basic Internet search can find the tools and figure out how to do it in no time. But the scarier stuff is what your phone can do when you aren't even using it. Let's start with your location.
[See: Monitoring your life through your cellphone]
Technology of Repression
In its final months, the Bush administration is pressing ahead with a new generation of spy technology designed to strengthen the US military's ability to detect and eliminate suspected insurgents in Iraq and elsewhere based on computer analyses of their movements and activities. The Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has begun granting contracts to software firms to create algorithms that can be applied to the real-time video feeds from drone aircraft so the data can be sorted and stored on a wide range of human activities, from digging a ditch to climbing into a car to kissing someone.
[See: Culture of Corruption]
Retailers would create databases linking individual RFID chips to consumers at the point of purchase, creating a database of what each person bought which would allow businesses or governments to keep tabs on every individual passing through a given area. The technology to accomplish this tracking, Albrecht says, has already been developed. Where can RFID chips be found? As RFID chips become cheaper, the number of devices that include them grows. The Radar Responsive (RR) technology was developed for the US Military at Sandia National Laboratories in the 1990s and is now used to avoid 'friendly fire'.
[See: Where can RFID chips be found]
[See: RFID 1984]
[See: Nox Defense chips (even RFID Dust) for tracking property and people]
Google has been recruited by US intelligence agencies to help them better process and share information they gather about suspects. Agencies such as the National Security Agency (NSA) have bought servers on which Google-supplied search technology is used to process information gathered by networks of spies around the world. Google is also providing the search features for a Wikipedia-style site, called Intellipedia, on which agents post information about their targets that can be accessed and appended by colleagues, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. [See: Phorm tracking, like the ill-fated NebuAd] Undergroundnation.ca offers valuable information about sources, methods and resources for professional and amateur investigators and researchers. It was no secret that Google's cars had already been collecting publicly broadcast SSID information (Wi-Fi network names) and MAC addresses (unique numbers for devices like Wi-Fi routers). But this techie data, which is used for location-based services such as Google Maps, didn't include any "payload data," or personal information sent over the network.