Glossary of Surveillance Terms

Here are definitions for many of the technical terms used in the world of business security and counter surveillance.

AGENT

An individual engaged in espionage activities

BECCA

Business Espionage Control and Countermeasures Association. The purpose of the association is to research and exchange information about business espionage controls and countermeasures; to establish and encourage a code of ethics within the profession, and to promote a professional image within the business community through the Certified Confidentiality Officer (CCO) programme.

BUG

A hidden listening device. Often a small, concealed microphone combined with a radio transmitter.

BUG DETECTING

See BUG SWEEPING.

BUG SWEEPING

The detection and removal of covert listening devices. This is a core service supplied by QCC Interscan, based in the Square Mile of the City of London.

CCO

Certified Confidentiality Officer.  The CCO is a training programme leading to official certification in diverse aspects of modern business related counter espionage.

CONTACT MICROPHONE

A microphone often used in surveillance. It does not have a diaphragm of its own but picks up sound by being directly in contact with a wall or other large flat vibrating surface.

COUNTERMEASURES

Actions taken to counter eavesdropping or surveillance threats. Countermeasures can range from electronically sweeping a building for bugs to simply implementing standard security guidlines.

COUNTER SURVEILLANCE

Specific actions taken to counter surveillance threats.

DEBUGGING

(see BUG SWEEPING)

ESPIONAGE

A synonim for spying; i.e. the act of seeking to retrieve information that is considered confidential without the permission of the information holder. Espionage isa value-neutral term, making no comment on whether the act is comitted for legitimate or illegitimate purposes.

GSM DETECTOR

An electronic device which detects the presence of those active mobile phones in the surrounding area which utilise the ‘Global System for Mobile communications’.

HIDDEN MICROPHONE

Technological advances mean that these days practically anybody can obtain cheap, tiny and easy to conceal devices for audio recording or transmission. This is a threat to business information security that should not be understimated. QCC Interscan are experts in the discovery and removal of hidden microphones from boardrooms, management offices and other areas where confidential information might come to light.

INFILTRATION OPERATION

Still a surprisingly common form of industrial espionage. An operative physically enters a target area, in such a manner that his presence or true affiliation will remain undetected.

SATELLITE PHONE BLOCKER

blocks those parts of the L-band spectrum used by satellite telephones by emitting a modulated signal sweeping over the band which drowns out local reception from the satellites.

SITREP

Abreviation of ‘Situation Report’ is CIA jargon that has been adopted by the American surveillance and counter-surveillance industry.

SPARE PAIR

In telephone systems a ‘spare pair’  of wires in the phone cable can sometimes be used by spies to listen in to conversations both on the phone itself and conversations occuring in the vicinity of the handset.

TIGER TESTING

A tiger test is a useful way for a security manager to test their own protocols and safeguards. An external  team is tasked by the security manager to break in to a location and photograph or remove some predetermined data or object without the alarm being raised. Tiger testing is used by the US military to test their own base defenses and has proved a successful technique for use in commercial situations where it can reveal weaknesses in information storage and site security.

TSCM

T.S.C.M. is an acronym which stands for ‘Technical Surveillance Counter Measures’. these are the actions and tools deployed by security firms to protect the security of clients by discovering if they are being spied upon.

TSCMi

The Technical Surveillance Counter Measures Institute

WATCHER TEAM

A team of operatives assigned to keep constant surveillance on a specific individual or location.

WIRE TAPPING

Remote Interception of both sides of a telephone conversation.