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Espionage in the 21st Century - People Don't Spy Anymore, Computers, Cars,  Squirrel and Even the Chinese Spy!

They say spying is an old profession. Second only to prostitution. Well, the latter hasn't changed much, but the former really, really has.

Spying in the 21st century is so different than it was even just 25 years ago. Actually spying has been quiet the same for over 2000 years, sure the art changes, progresses, being it that is a covert practice, however over the last 10 years, spying has changed arguably more than in the past 2 milleniums.

2400 years ago, Sun Tzu said there are five kinds of spies. 1) The local spy, is a serviceman or employee working in the enemies district. 2) The insider spy, is having a local official working for you. 3) a converted spy, is an enemies spy captured and bribed/threatened to become a double agent. 4) Doomed spies, are basically, bait for the enemy 5) surviving spies, are ones that come back with intelligence. 

One thing that is common between those 5 types of spies is that they are, well, HUMAN spies. Humans were the greatest source of gathering intelligence. They did it with their own two hands, with their own eyes and ears and they did it for their country. They did it so they could tip off their country so it can gain advantage militarily. Surveillance, confiscation (e.g. theft) and assassination (if necessary) were the tradecraft used to obtain the necessary intelligence. It has always been that way. Not so much anymore. First off, spying is mostly performed from the comfort of ones computer and is done mostly for business reasons. The methods and instruments are different too today. Sure humans are still behind the espionage, but they are no longer the catalyst of gathering intelligence.

Computers Spy... Computer spyware is a neo spy tool that uses computer technology in two ways to gather intelligence. One, there is advertiser spyware or adware that simply gathers information from people's personal computers, mostly for marketing reason, albeit. Then there is spy software and hardware (namely keyloggers) the are used to secretly gather logs of all computer activity that can be used as evidence, to steal trade secrets of just to spy on people's private lives. Those are just private computers that spy. There is also Carnivore, Echelon and the NSA that spy on global communication networks but that a whole other story.

Businesses Also Spy... Military intelligence was the primary focus of spying in the past. Now economic espionage is the biggest reason for spying. Major espionage cases are happening in every facet of every industry. Large corporations that have had Economic Espionage Act cases in the recent decades include the likes of Adobe, Avery, Business Engine Software Corporation, Microsoft and the even today there has been known cases of spying amongst sports teams (look up "spygate") and even in the F1! McLaren had been accused of spying on Ferrari. Spying is all about getting the competitive edge. And if cars needs to spy on other cars, to win the race, then so be it.

Squirrels Spy Too!!! Also in the animal world . . . From the BBC translators, an editorial by Saleh Eskandari headlined "spying squirrels," published July 10 by the Iranian newspaper Resalat.

"A few weeks ago, 14 squirrels equipped with espionage systems of foreign intelligence services were captured by [Iranian] intelligence forces along the country's borders. These trained squirrels, each of which weighed just over 700 grams, were released on the borders of the country for intelligence and espionage purposes. According to the announcement made by Iranian intelligence officials, alert police officials caught these squirrels before they could carry out any task.

"Fixing GPS devices, bugging instruments and advanced cameras in the bodies of trained animals like squirrels, mice, hamsters, etc, are among modern methods of collecting intelligence. Given the fast speed and the special physical features of these animals, they provide special capabilities for spying operations. Once the animals return to their place of origin, the intelligence gathered by them is then offloaded. . . ."

Always thought there was something NUTS about current intelligence industry practices and this just validates it.

Wow Even The Chinese Spy! Some (western) people are a tad behind in terms of the world and its lighting fast globalization patterns and sociological advancements. Many still believe that China is a 3rd world communist country filled with rice fields. Well, they still do love rice, but the Chinese are becoming so advanced in every department, militarily, technologically and especially economically, that they are already a world superpower in everyway possible. Their open and relentlessly agenda is to become advanced and powerful in every arena of world politics (world domination?), and this is highlighted by their countless attempts (both successful and not) to spy on the USA.

The US FBI Director said that Chinese intelligence operations against the United States are a major problem and that the FBI is stepping up counterespionage efforts against them. Several recent Chinese spy cases highlight the problem of Beijing's spying, including the case of Los Angeles businesswoman... a longtime informant for the FBI who was later accused of secretly working a Chinese intelligence service.

China has repeatedly denied that it is spying on US military or economic intelligence. While the USA has declared Chinese espionage the biggest threat on the net. Of course most of the alleged China spy cases in the USA are military and economic intelligence related. 

Surveillance, confiscation and assassination are no longer really in use in today's spy world. There's the odd case of a break in, a gun down or big brother keeping a look out on a target, but even the most sovereign spies limit how much of their necks they put on the line for their good ol' motherland! So to conclude, spying is mixed up with competition, politics and legality so much so nowadays, that it seems that less and less people are putting themselves on the line, which means HUMINT (human intelligence) style spies like James Bond, really no longer exist... or do they? Maybe they are that good.

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