How counter-surveillance is utilized by law enforcement and government agencies to offset spying

Many of us think of law enforcement and government agencies as operating in the realm of surveillance: watching people and their movements in order to identify and catch criminals. While this is true, the reality is that counter-surveillance is also a huge aspect of what these agencies handle on a daily basis.

Law enforcement and government agencies use counter-surveillance tools to combat against the unauthorized surveillance of people. They use these tools to detect signals in homes, offices, and vehicles to determine whether someone is listening in, watching, or tracking movement via GPS. Law enforcement may also use them to ensure the safety of high-ranking officials, CEOs, government figures, and military personnel in order to determine if unauthorized surveillance is being used against them. Counter-surveillance tools may also be used in legal investigations and to manage the security of law enforcement facilities.

The most common counter surveillance tools used to detect and disable these intrusive devices are bug detectors, GPS detectors, and camera lens detectors. These are available across a broad spectrum of styles, features, frequencies, and price points. We’ll explore the different types of counter-surveillance tools available for a variety of applications, as well as the specific uses employed by law enforcement officers and government agencies.

Uncovering Counter-Surveillance Devices

Counter-surveillance tools work similarly across the board, with different features and abilities at different price points. The main use of a counter-surveillance tool is to identify and uncover hidden surveillance. RF (radio frequency) detectors are often used for this purpose as they are able to discover if devices are being used to listen in and transmit recorded information back to a remote location. If you’re wondering how counter-surveillance devices work or how to choose the best ones for your needs, the BrickHouse Security team can direct you to the best resources for this information.

Utilizing Counter-Surveillance Tools to Protect Important Information and People

Some counter-surveillance devices are used as general protective measures to ensure that information and people are safe from unwanted spying. RF detectors can be used to identify electronic bugs, cell phone bugs, and GPS trackers, while lens finders can be used to detect hidden cameras. Sometimes defensive measures are needed, such as white noise makers or audio jammers to mask the sounds of voices in case listening devices have not been found but are still suspected.

Learn more about how radio frequency detectors actually work.

Law Enforcement Uses for Counter-Surveillance

Law enforcement officers may use counter-surveillance measures for a variety of applications, including sweeping correctional facilities to identify whether prisoners or visitors are engaging in inappropriate surveillance, law enforcement offices to ensure the safety of their team, crime scenes, and even as part of investigations.

When law enforcement officers believe that the safety of their team or their prisoners could be in danger, they will often resort to counter-surveillance measures to identify and eliminate unwanted spying. Police may also often be called upon to use counter-surveillance in their cases if a person--especially one in a position of authority--believes they are being spied on. Occasionally officers may examine an area to search for surveillance tools if they are doing a high-stakes drug bust, for example, to ensure that their actions on the scene are not being monitored.

Government Uses for Counter-Surveillance

Government agencies may utilize similar measures for more advanced needs such as sweeping the offices, meeting rooms, homes, and vehicles of high-ranking or elected officials; ensuring the protection of important government figures and visiting diplomats; and generalized anti-spying countermeasures.

For a government agency, safety and security are huge concerns because of the level of sensitive information being handled on a daily basis. Government officers will often own high-level counter-surveillance equipment which will be used regularly to sweep areas where important information is discussed and important people are often found. These protocols will generally be ramped up when high-ranking officials are present. Spies and other dangerous criminals will often utilize surveillance measures to monitor important people and it’s necessary for the government to be prepared.

Safety and Counter-Surveillance

The most essential role of law enforcement and government is the protection of people and information, and sometimes counter-surveillance is a necessary tool for meeting those needs. With the wide range of tools available on the market, law enforcement and government agencies will be able to find the most appropriate tools to counteract unauthorized surveillance.

Published August 1st, 2021