PROTECTION FROM THREATS
Espionage has been described as the “world’s second oldest profession”. As stated in The Threats section of this website, many countries still make extensive use of espionage against the UK.
This page provides an overview of the main risks from espionage for potential targets travelling or working overseas, together with advice on the steps you can take to minimise the risks.
Espionage can damage UK national security in a number of ways. The loss of military secrets can, for example, damage strategic military interests and endanger the lives of British troops overseas. The covert or unauthorised acquisition of our scientific research, industrial and computer technology can also harm the UK‘s defences, economic well-being and national infrastructure.
Foreign intelligence services typically seek intelligence on:
- political and diplomatic decision-making;
- military intentions and capabilities;
- economic and financial policies;
- cutting-edge technologies and associated research and development data;
The UK is a priority espionage target for many foreign intelligence services, because of its role in the UN, NATO and the EU, and its position as a major player in the field of science and technology. Espionage activity against UK interests takes place overseas as well as in the UK.
Foreign intelligence and security services will try to fulfil their intelligence requirements by targeting those individuals best placed to help them. These include:
- military personnel;
- civil servants;
- politicians and their advisors;
- police and customs officers;
- scientists or employees of high-tech companies;
- business men and women working in relevant industries;
If you believe you fit the profile of someone who might attract the attention of a foreign intelligence service, consider the following guidance.
Before you travel overseas in an official capacity
The potential threat from espionage varies from country to country. Government officials and staff of companies working with the Government on sensitive contracts should establish whether there is an espionage threat in the country to which they are travelling. Speak to the Security Co-ordinator of your department or organisation to discuss the particular level of threat in the country you are visiting.
If you are travelling to a country where there is a threat of espionage:
While you are overseas
A security or intelligence service may use a variety of techniques to target a foreign national travelling to or posted to their country. These include intercepting telephone calls (both land line and mobile), computer equipment, (laptops, palmtops, personal digital assistants), emails, fax, telex and post; planting eavesdropping devices; direct surveillance; or covert searching of hotel rooms (including safes) and offices.
Lavish hospitality, flattery and the “red carpet” treatment are used by some intelligence services to soften up a target for recruitment who may then feel obliged to co-operate rather than offend the hosts.
On your return to the UK
(See also: “Espionage: Operating Techniques“).
If you are concerned that you may have been the subject of espionage interest overseas, report the matter to your organisation’s Security Co-ordinator, if you have one, or the police, as soon as possible.
Suspected activity by foreign security and intelligence services should also be reported to the Security Service – see the “How you can help” page.
FAIR USE NOTICE: All original content and/or articles and graphics in this message are copyrighted, unless specifically noted otherwise. All rights to these copyrighted items are reserved. Articles and graphics have been placed within for educational and discussion purposes only, in compliance with “Fair Use” criteria established in Section 107 of the Copyright Act of 1976. The principle of “Fair Use” was established as law by Section 107 of The Copyright Act of 1976. “Fair Use” legally eliminates the need to obtain permission or pay royalties for the use of previously copyrighted materials if the purposes of display include “criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.” Section 107 establishes four criteria for determining whether the use of a work in any particular case qualifies as a “fair use”. A work used does not necessarily have to satisfy all four criteria to qualify as an instance of “fair use”. Rather, “fair use” is determined by the overall extent to which the cited work does or does not substantially satisfy the criteria in their totality. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml
THIS DOCUMENT MAY CONTAIN COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL. COPYING AND DISSEMINATION IS PROHIBITED WITHOUT PERMISSION OF THE COPYRIGHT OWNER