[ExI] Forbes: How to Spy on People

PJ Manney pjmanney at gmail.com
Mon Dec 3 20:53:44 UTC 2007

Forget about the government and wiretapping.  I've heard about a lot
of this, but a couple of these babies were new to me.  After reading
this article, I sincerely hope you are all in happy, deceit free
relationships and that none of you are doing anything nefarious.
Because if you aren't, you're in for a world full of hurt.


In Pictures: How They're Watching You:

How To Spy On People
James D. Zirin 11.28.07, 6:00 AM ET

"No one cares more about the things you do than the person that used
to be married to you," says Jacalyn F. Barnett, a New York matrimonial

Indeed, everyone knows that the government engages in pervasive
surveillance of citizens in its prosecution of the war on terror. And,
it has been widely reported that Google and Microsoft accumulate
personal data on Internet users as well. But, the most pervasive form
of electronic surveillance nowadays comes from people you know--your
boss, your business competitor, someone on a journalist's beat, and
even your spouse.

In Pictures: How They're Watching You
Want to zero in on someone anywhere on the planet? Just call GeoEye.
GeoEye is the premier provider of geospatial imagery to its commercial
customers to help them better map and monitor the world. GeoEye
operates a constellation of Earth imaging satellites, mapping
aircraft, an international network of ground stations and advanced
imagery processing capabilities.

And, if that's not revealing enough, GeoEye plans to launch its
next-generation Earth imaging satellite, GeoEye1, in late first
quarter or early second quarter 2008. GeoEye1 will be the world's
highest resolution and most accurate commercial imaging satellite with
a ground resolution of about 16 inches. Just think, one could punch up
Angelina Jolie and see what she's doing anywhere in the world--with
the camera lens only 16 inches away.

On the other hand, if you don't care what your favorite movie star is
doing geospatially, but are more curious about what your wife or
business rival is doing on the Internet, you can bug her computer with
a program known as "Pandora" available online for $49. Pandora will
send to your computer a log of everything the target is doing. Yes,
e-mails, Web site visits, draft letters--right down to the last
keystroke. Pandora, named for the first woman in Greek mythology whose
curiosity unleashed a multitude of sins, can be physically installed
in the target's computer by one with access.

It seems our entire culture is enmeshed in a thicket of electronic
gadgets for bugging, visual surveillance and computer monitoring,
which all but put the traditional private detective out of business.
The president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers has said
that there is electronic evidence in almost every case. "It has
completely changed our field."

No longer the need for the high-priced gumshoe to follow someone
around. Too labor intensive. Just install surreptitiously in the
target's car a GPS vehicle tracking system, available on the Internet
for $700, and follow her travels on your computer screen while you
stay at home with your other eye, perhaps, on a football game.

Is your child's nanny up to no good while you are out on the town?
Follow her movements about the house with a $600 motion activated
digital video camera neatly concealed in a clock, a book or an air

Is your employee consulting lawyers in preparation for a
multimillion-dollar lawsuit against you? Tap into his litigation
strategy and discover the strengths and weaknesses of the case by
intercepting office e-mail communications with his attorney. All you
need do is warn the employee of an e-mail policy in place that
provides, among other things, that your computers are to be used for
business purposes only; that employees have no personal right of
privacy in the material they send or receive through your computer
systems; and that you reserve the right to access and disclose
material on your system. A Manhattan judge recently ruled such
communications outside the attorney/client privilege since the
employee was warned that his boss was "looking over his shoulder."

And if you get into litigation, almost all private information, if
relevant to the lawsuit, is fair game for subpoena. Banking, brokerage
and credit card records may reveal the most sensitive financial
information. E-Z Pass bills may disclose clandestine journeys or
secret meetings. Telephone records may tell a tale of who you know,
who you talk to, how frequently and how long. If you think your life
is an open book, you're right.

Eavesdropping is dangerous and may even be criminal. Bernard Kerik,
former New York City police commissioner under Rudy Giuliani, and
Westchester County District Attorney Jeanine Pirro raised eyebrows
recently over reports that he allegedly assisted her in bugging her
estranged husband's boat.

Hewlett Packard chairwoman Patricia Dunn was indicted after she
allegedly ordered intrusive spying on board members and journalists in
a hunt for who was leaking business secrets to the press. The charges
against her were later dropped in the "interests of justice." The
private detective involved pleaded guilty to fraud and conspiracy
charges. The company settled the civil suits for a reported $14.5

In most states and in the federal system, anti-eavesdropping laws
largely prohibit interception type surveillance such as wiretapping.
There have been few reported convictions. However, federal law, as
well as New York law, generally allows recording of a conversation if
one of the parties to the conversation consents. Such a recording is
not deemed an interception. The recording, if relevant, would probably
be admissible in evidence. In California, however, such one-party
recordings are deemed inadmissible.

Meanwhile, the "great game" continues in cyberspace. And the names
aren't changed to protect the innocent.

In Pictures: How They're Watching You
James D. Zirin is a trial lawyer in New York and co-host of the
program Digital Age.

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