Thursday, January 26, 2012

Electronic Eavesdropping Alive and Well in Mexico

Of late, a search of several Mexican lawmakers' offices turned up eavesdropping equipment. Moreover, it has been disclosed that while some of the clandestine audio surveillance equipment is state-of-the-art, other equipment may have been there for years. Interestingly, though, a number of different political party offices had been similarly compromised, suggesting that everyone was spying on each other.

As a result of the discoveries, federal prosecutors have been asked to investigate how the equipment was installed and by whom.

COMMENT: Unfortunately, there has been a history of the executive branch of the Mexican government bugging the opposition for years, particularly during the 71 years of rule by the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). After PAN candidate Vicente Fox won the 2000 presidential election, he announced that the country's intelligence service, the Center for National Security and Investigation, would no longer spy on political opponents. Yet, in 2008, under President Felipe Calderon, the agency outsourced its needs to monitor the activities of legislators.

When I was working for a number of Mexican corporations during the 1990s, I learned very quickly just how prevalent electronic surveillance was in Mexico. And, in fact, for a number of years much of the work I did was to help a number of law firms protect their sensitive information and keep their conference rooms and offices "clean" from audio penetration.

For our readers in Mexico, assume that offices have been "bugged," and take precautions to share only the most sensitive matters with confidants in areas where you are absolutely sure the space has not been compromised.

A trusted colleague, Kevin D. Murray, has authored a superb and unique book entitled, "Is My Cell Phone Bugged?" The ISBN is 978-1-934572-88-7. It can also be ordered from Amazon and Barnes & Noble. If you need a copy quickly, contact Kevin at or (908)832-7900.

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