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What is Electronic Surveillance (Eavesdropping)?

Electronic Eavesdropping has many names: Technical Surveillance, Electronic Espionage, Industrial Espionage, Electronic Surveillance, and Audio Surveillance.

There are various ways to Eavesdrop:

  • Concealing a listening device and/or recording device or Bug in an area that can transmit speech frequencies or graphic video pictures to remote locations and/or computers.
  • Using a laser beam to point a laser microphone at a window. A laser microphone can be located a considerable distance away (half mile) and is capable of transmitting the vibrations of human speech from the glass to a computer at a remote location and processed them into intelligible conversation.

"Bugs" or "listening devices" have become so technically sophisticated that locating or "sweeping" for them is very difficult, if not impossible.

We, at American Sound Masking, have state-of-the-art products that can stop bugs or laser microphones from accomplishing their objective: to listen and record. We secure the most common breach points such as windows, HVAC ducts, sprinkler pipe, conduit, walls, doors, under raised floors, and ceiling plenums.

Typical locations for concealing electronic listening devices include:

  • HVAC Duct: Hiding a small bug in the HVAC ducts allows the listening devise to record conversations up to 4 or 5 offices away.
  • Walls: Bugs can be positioned on a wall (above or below ceiling grid), in the wall, under a picture hanging on the wall, behind a sofa, or chair pushed up against the wall, under an electrical switch plate cover, in an electrical outlet duplex, in a plant next to the wall, or many other locations.
  • Doors: Placing a bug on the door, or on a trash receptacle by a door allows for recording conversations through the door.
  • Sprinkler pipe/Gas Pipe: Tapping a bug on a pipe above the ceiling allows for the human speech frequencies vibrating on the pipe to be sent to a remote location where a computer can process them into intelligible conversation.
  • Conduit: Sliding a bug through conduit, from floors away, can locate the bug in an ideal location for listening to conversations.
  • Under raised floors: Sliding a bug from one room to another under the raised floor is an extremely easy and effective way to capture conversations.
  • Above the Ceiling: Whether a ceiling is metal, tin, hardboard, plaster, or an acoustical lay-in panel grid system, hiding a bug or sliding a bug from one room to another is another extremely easy way to capture conversations.
  • Paging & intercom system speakers: A paging speaker is essentially a diaphragm. As human speech from within the room travels to the paging speaker located on the ceiling, it vibrates the speakers and sends the voice back through the speaker wire, in the reverse direction. Tapping into that wire allows the conversations from that room to be captured from anywhere the wire is located.

In both private and public sectors, senior management has been in a state of heightened concern over increasing the security of information that is communicated, both written and oral. This unease covers a wide range of subjects from human resource discussions, new product development, expansion/relocation plans, marketing strategies, potential mergers, and next quarter's financial performance, to rumors of domestic terrorism, to top-secret meetings with military defense contractors.

There is a need to protect conversations from inadvertent and deliberate eavesdropping. Of critical concern is protection from the threat of intercepted conversations by a host of electronic devices that are currently and easily available on the market.

One example of these more publicized "tools" is the use of laser beams that can be aimed from a considerable distance at windows and capture information that can be processed into intelligible conversation.

American Sound Masking offers specialized eavesdropping protection solutions which have been designed and installed since 1975, protecting the sensitive conversations of corporate, government, and military facilities. Among these solutions are sound masking devices for the treatment of windows, doors, walls, ceiling plenums, floors, HVAC ducts, and utility penetrations.

American Sound Masking design/builds every audio security solution application specific for the area of concern. Such areas include executive office environments, R&D facilities, financial institutions, manufacturing facilities, and pilot plants.

Our sound masking solutions meet DCID {Director Central Intelligence Directive (CIA)} and DIAM (Defense Intelligence Agency Measures) federal requirements for SCIF (Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility) or Self Contained Information Facility.

American Sound Masking engineers are available to discuss specific audio security requirements on a strictly confidential basis.

These are the industry's first eavesdropping protection devices designed to operate on 70 volt distribution lines, eliminating the limitations of 48 ohm devices and out performing transducer type maskers.

Contact an American Sound Masking professional to discuss how these versatile devices can protect your facilities and interests.

Loss due to Industrial Espionage and Electronic Surveillance (Eavesdropping)

Industrial espionage and electronic eavesdropping surveillance is growing at a phenomenal rate. This exploding growth has created new demands for eavesdropping devices, bug detectors, wiretap detection equipment and other TSCM (Technical Surveillance Countermeasures) counter surveillance products and bug sweep services.

For example, the U.S. State Department estimates that there are over 700,000 eavesdropping devices sold each year. This figure does not include the projected hundreds of thousand devices that are "homemade" by buying individual components. The State Department also reports that over 6,500 incidents of industrial espionage occur in the United States each year with an average economic impact of $1.25 million per incident.

Additionally, the American Society for Industrial Security estimates that Economic and Industrial Espionage cost Fortune 1000 companies over $53 billion in 2001. And, an annual report to Congress in 2004 on Foreign Economic Collection and Industrial Espionage estimates that such activities cost anywhere from $100 to $250 billion annually.

Unfortunately, these surveys and estimates do not include the over 600,000 businesses in the U.S. with more than 20 employees or the 98,000 companies with more than 100 employees.

How long is the warranty on Audio Security Products?

Our Audio Security products are marketed two ways. As products only, or we install them as a complete system. When we install our audio security products as a system, the entire system is warranted for a period of twenty years on products and workmanship. Travel and/or labor cost will apply, depending on location of system, and if system is located outside the Continental United States.

When our Audio Security products are purchased individually by a client, and installed by non-factory trained installers, they are warranted for a period of five years, or the current manufactures warranty, unless they are found to be damaged because of no fault of the products i.e., poor workmanship, incorrect wiring, damage and/or breakage, etc.

In the case of improper wiring, poor workmanship, incorrect tuning, damage and/or breakage, the outcome will be determined and resolved by the manufacturer. To return products, call American Sound Masking to obtain a RA number (return authorization number).

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