I am not a person whom likes to compare the TI experience to films, no-matter how true to life they can be but there is one film that stands out as a perfect example of how psychological manipulation can be achieved using standard electronic equipment.
The film ‘Theres something about Mary’ released in 1998 makes a major Faux Pas in terms of what is happening to targets today. It also personifies the entire problems of modern day hacking and survellience.
The film centres around two significant issues. Stalking and illegal survellience. By todays standards the equipment seen in the film is quite primative but observed to be exceptionally effective. The types of equipment seen in the film are real and is still used for spying by the intelligence services, police and private investigators. A majority of it can be legally purchased from the internet if one was so inclined.
Useless you have access to bug detectors or devices that can detect long range scanning equipment, then the techniques used by the investigator in the film are just as effective at psychologically manipulating a person today as they were then. Interestingily, the films central charater Mary (Cameron Diaz) and her roommate both have access to survellience equipment themselves, yet is still manipulated. Her stalker is always one step ahead. The irony the irony that another of Marys stalkers Tucker (Lee Evans) is the only person whom makes her aware of that the person she is dating Healy (Matt Dillon), isnt who he says he is.
‘There’s Something about Mary’ was released at a time before the arrival of social media, smart phones and the AI that can be found on them. More primative survellience can perhaps play a more important role than modern tech.
The most obvious is coincidence which can be observed when Mary mets Healy, the private eye sent to track her down by her childhood sweetheart Ted (Ben Stiller). Healy whom whom instantly falls in love with Mary uses survellience equipment in close proximity to her property to detail as much of her life as possible before introducing himself. Their first encounter sees Healy attempting to appeal to Marys personal interests and passions of which in reality, they are of polar opposites. This works at attracting Marys attention which was otherwise dismissed by her first impressions.
The second is that modern tech leaves a digital footprint which has the potential to be tracked thus leaves more of a chance of locating the source of hackers which could be all means have access to ones audio and camera at any given time, should the device be comprimised. In the film, it is mobiles and land lines that are tapped using long range scanners. Otherwise, the charaters do not have a real-time visual view through cameras which were not found on mobiles in 1998. Most mobile calls being monitored in the late 90’s were logged by telephone number by intelligence services and some TIs were used to test future systems separate to that of law enforcement. Those that would be involved would be classed a special-ops.
The third is that it is now common knowledge that internet companies extract our data. It is by all means legal should you agree to the terms and conditions. Proving if that information has been used illegally is exceptionally difficult considering that it could be anywhere in the world, but there is always the likelyhood that it can be traced through error. Considering hacking groups and whistleblowers are now commonplace, the threat to those which conduct illegal survellience is much higher. Therefore, non-internet connective devices are less likely to be traced and a sign that pre-internet technology has some major advantages in effective harassment campaigns.
As I have maintained, the majority of tactics used by perpatrators within the community are not all state sponsored spies but are in fact just common criminals. However, they can sell this information on to intelligence agencies without realising it which adds to a complex problem of how many sources are active on one person at a time.
Individuals whom spy illegally are exceptional useful to intelligence agenices. They are people whom are marked in the system as criminals but are allowed to continue what they do because of what they do.
This does not mean that targets are not exposed to real-time observations by intelligence agencies but it more the fact they have to be distanced as far as possible from illegal activity that could comprimise operations that they undertake on everyone through digital extraction. This makes criminals in society far easier to manipulate than before and thus can be brought into the harassment programs.
Main operatives employed by intelligence agencies are ones that tend to reflect more real-time coincidences, that is information leaving your digital devices as quick as you could be having a phone conversation with someone you know. Secondary operatives (Criminals/vigilantes) are used as counter measures where illegal survellience is at threat of being exposed. These individuals are of course more at risk of imprisonment and blackmail simply because their activities were or are not state sponsored. However, they are used more often than intellience agencies because again, through law, these activities, if it ever went to court, could be blamed on citizen crime rather than the state.
In terms of the Syndicates which employs perpatrators is another aspect altogether and are normally intergrated inbetween law enforcement, state sponsored spies and controlled organised crime. These individuals work for companies concerned with deeper aspects of projects that involved artifical intelligence and development of weapons/drones/android/machine tech. They are not all computer specialists, but have been identified as possessing qualities that the company requires and not always to do with their moral backgrounds.