Eavesdropping statistics in the United States

Eavesdropping Statistics in the U.S.

The government places a careful eye on eavesdropping technology and it’s availability. The common name for this scientific technology is called “Technical Surveillance”. As mentioned above, certain types of security equipment could be used to eavesdrop and is statistically classified and documented as such, whether imported into the U.S. or built in country..

  • The U.S. Department of State* estimated an average of $500 million annually is expended on purchases of eavesdropping equipment used against private persons.
  • The U.S. Department of State* also estimated an average of $300 million annually is expended on corporate eavesdropping devices. 
  • The average cost spent per month on eavesdropping for one corporate entity is $30000 – $50000.
  • 58% of this eavesdropping technology is purchased from outside the United States.
  • It has been estimated by the U.S. Department of State* that illegal eavesdropping results in a loss of $8.2 billion a year for U.S. corporations.
  • The U.S. Department of State* also estimated that a $2.2 billion dollar annual underground industry and economy of monitoring illegal eavesdropping surveillance devices exists.
  • The average cost of a court approved law enforcement surveillance operation is $45,000.

References Stated*1  U. S. State Department/DCI, March, 1997
*2 18 U.S.C. Sec. 2511(1)(a) 

Unfortunately since Bush Jr. statistics on surveillance has been kept secret. Just take the numbers given and multiply it exponentially 19 times and you should have a ballpark figure.

A New Focus

As winter invades here in the mountains I’m taking the time to pursue some dreams. One of those inhabits my thoughts with increasing frequency – that of using my talents to help  the oppressed. I’m thinking of setting up a not for profit hands-on exhibition on how to detect and deal with surveillance devices. What I’d like to do is maybe make deals with churches, and maybe some battered women’s organizations to travel, set up demos for them to practice on, and give them a cheap but adequate RF and hidden camera detector at the end of the demo. It’d be a great promo piece for churches, I would think. Thoughts anyone?

Are you being watched?

There’s an idiom in the security business that if professionals are spying on you, you’ll never know. I’m not sure I agree with that fully. I believe we all have that hard wired alarm in our head that lets us know when things aren’t quite right. If you do get that, ask yourself “Am I worth spying on?” Some of the reasons someone might be watching you are divorce or a bad breakup, a company sale or merger, or if you are suspected of being involved in criminal behavior. And then you have the people that just like to watch.

Being secure means being aware. Watch people, vehicles, patterns. If you’re driving, randomly park and watch for the same cars recurring. Same with people, if you’re walking take an unexpected turn and watch how people react. I can not express strongly enough to never ever let a person or persons approach you rapidly from behind.

If you suspect you are being followed/stalked/spied on contact your local police department at your earliest opportunity. They will rate the possibility you are being spied on by metrics such as are you in a profession or situation where surveillance is seen more. (this is the formula: Likelihood  x Consequence × Vulnerability  = Risk.Do not become flustered if they appear to not believe you! Stay calm and just state facts, no conjecturing.

Finding a wire/bug/transmitter is usually a tedious, methodical process. The first and only option  you likely have is a physical search. Did someone recently give you something? Have you checked all areas all others have had access to? The first area a casual acquaintance will likely place a bug is under a shelf. Look for places they would have access to to retrieve something as well. Also, listen when you enter a room. Cameras are often set to motion detection, and you will hear a soft click and whir sometimes. Also, you may notice radio frequency interference in radios or televisions. If you do find one don’t touch it – have a police officer document it. I would not be able to do anything but point at it myself, as it is not my property and I could be sued.

Stay safe over the holidays everyone!