Sunday, March 4, 2012

Spies in the Shadows ... How Real Can it Get?

Study espionage in the classroom ... An historical study of the role of espionage in Canada. WHY SPY? What is espionage and why do governments, companies, and people spend major resources on it? Perhaps this question was best answered by the hero of the Napoleonic Wars, Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington, who was “guessing what was at the other side of the hill.” The goal of espionage, intelligence, or spying, is usually to find information, especially regarding knowledge (what do you know that we don’t) or intentions (what do you plan to do, and why?).

Intelligence is about understanding an adversary, whether military, business or personal. Governments gather intelligence to become informed about what other countries are planning to do, whether to improve their own negotiating position, or to anticipate what repercussions intended or unintended actions might create. In the private sector, companies seek information about their competitors and their products. Stealing technology is often cheaper and faster than paying for independent research. Investors also perform “due diligence” investigations on companies that want to borrow their money.

In countries like Canada, most intelligence comes from open source intelligence: sources like newspapers, television, or the internet. In fact, most intelligence in the western world derives from publicly available sources. However, sometimes “what was at the other side of the hill,” or in an enemy’s filing cabinet, or tactics being transmitted to soldiers, all represent secret, highly sensitive information. For this, the goal of espionage – agencies, tools and tactics— is to learn what others try to keep secret.  Learning couldn't get any easier and more real ... Check out this site ... no, better still, have your students check it out!

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