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

Evans, Rob; Jones, Meirion

Publisher:  The Guardian
Date Written:  12/12/2017
Year Published:  2017  
Resource Type:  Article

British Airways, the Royal Bank of Scotland and Porsche 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 targets included the grieving family of Rachel Corrie, a student protester crushed to death by a bulldozer, as well as a range of environmental campaigns, and local campaigners protesting about phone masts.

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 police have claimed that commercial firms have had more spies embedded in political groups than there were undercover police officers.

The revelations are based on hundreds of pages of leaked documents from two corporate intelligence firms, seen by the Guardian and the Bureau for Investigative Journalism, that reveal the inner workings of a normally subterranean industry over several years in the 2000s.


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