Have you ever asked yourself what is spymaster in electronic world?
Now is time to reveal that information.
We approached one of the best in the business Communications & Surveillance Systems which also goes under the name Spymaster. With showrooms in Portman Square and Park Lane Spymaster`s stationery proclaims "suppliers to HM Govemment". Well if it`s good enough for M it`s good enough for us.
We said we wanted to monitor an offce of around 20 staff and this is what we could have bought for our money. First for monitoring conversations in offices Spymaster was prepared to sell us two different types of equipment. The lowercost system works on the VHF band and enables the transmission of audio up to 300 metres although in practice 100 metres would be more realistic in an offce environment advised Spymaster.
The cost of these transmitters (which could be supplied ftted in desktop calculators and other equipment) together with receivers would have set us back between £250 and £350 per set excluding VAT The more professional range of equipment on the other hand is VHF crystalcontrolled and can be supplied ftted in various office products with a range of up to 600 metres.The cost would run to £1300 per set plus VAT So far so good.
But as Spymaster pointed out it`s against the Wireless and Teiegraphy Act to transmit without a licence so using this equipment isn`t legally permitted in England. The same is true of video surveillance equipment which transmits a signal through the airwaves.
A similar problem existed with our idea of recording telephone conversations (the transmission bit that is). The technical side is quite simple involving either a transmitter and receiver or a direct connection to the target telephone line of a specially mod)fied tape recorder We could have spent up to £400 per set for this and it would be legal to record our own telephone conversations with a tape recorder but illegal to tap other people`s telephones.
In addition Spymaster could supply us with a range of covert video cameras concealed in wall clocks passive infrared detectors and loudspeaker housings. These could be connected to a video recorder via a small cable. The price varies between £450 and £900 plus VAT.
So it`s easy enough to get hold of the stuff but rather harder to put it to the use it`s intended for.
business &technology magazine
September 8 1997