Companies hired surveillance firms to spy on campaign groups, leaked documents show

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Article
18 December 2017

Commentary: Corporate investigations business & spying techniques used on behalf of clients

Author: Henry Williams, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism

The corporate investigations industry is by its very nature a secretive business, but it has recently and reluctantly come out of the shadows.

…The new revelations from private security firms C2I and Inkerman are yet more unwelcome attention on an industry which now wants to appear both professional and bland...

 ...Last December it was reported that K2 had hired a documentary film producer to pose as an anti-asbestos activist to infiltrate the movement…K2 has argued that it has merely passed information to its client, which wanted to understand the anti-asbestos campaign.

 …Hakluyt, was also caught out using exactly the same technique as K2, infiltration… Greenpeace was a key target because they were looking to expand their campaign against BP’s drilling in the North Atlantic and targeting Shell in Nigeria.

 …Control Risks was cited in the investigation of Nigerian activist Dotun Oloko who had blown the whistle on a private equity company partially funded by the UK’s Department of International Development (Dfid). The department then sent the information to the company. It then chose to employ Control Risks to investigate Oloko, rather than the alleged wrongdoing in their own company...

[Other companies referred: Kroll, Diligence, BP’s drilling, Shell, UK’s Department of International Development]

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Item
12 December 2017

Surveillance firms spied on campaign groups for big companies, leak shows

Author: Guardian

British Airways, the Royal Bank of Scotland and Porsche [part of Volkswagen] are among five large companies that have been identified as having paid corporate intelligence firms to monitor political groups that challenged their businesses, leaked documents reveal. The surveillance included the use of infiltrators to spy on campaigners…The leaked documents suggest the use of secretive corporate security firms to gather intelligence about political campaigners has been widespread. However, police chiefs have in the past raised a “massive concern” that the activities of the corporate firms are barely regulated and completely uncontrolled...

...The cache shows how one of the firms, C2i International, used two infiltrators to acquire advance warning of demonstrations that were being mounted against firms and to feed this information to those firms…The clandestine Inkerman Group gathers information about protesters and has covertly deployed infiltrators on demonstrations that are directed at firms. One of its confidential documents has warned of the threat presented by protest groups that use direct action to disrupt the “economic welfare” of companies...

Leaked documents show that C2i claimed it had “real-time intelligence assets” in a range of environmental campaigns including Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, local green groups in Oxford and “all anti‐aviation groups”…

[Other companies referred: Caterpillar, The energy firm RWE nPower, Donald Trump’s property development firm]

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