159 x 237 x 30mm
In 2006 a spy scandal at Hewlett Packard erupted when it was revealed that Patricia Dunn, then the company's chairwoman, had hired a team to spy on journalists covering the company and members of its board. These spies used a technique called "pretexting," pretending to be someone else to obtain phone records, in order to figure out how information had been leaking from the company. In response, Congress passed a law banning pretexting, but the visibility of the corporate intelligence industry surfaced and then vanished almost as quickly.
As it turns out, the pretexting at HP is just one, relatively benign example of the work of an industry with tentacles in almost every industry in almost every corner of the globe. Intelligence companies and the spies they employ are setting up fake websites to elicit information, trailing individuals and mirroring travel itineraries, dumpster-diving in household and corporate trash, using ultra-sophisticated satellite surveillance to spy on facilities, acting as impostors to take jobs within companies or to gain access to corporations, concocting elaborate schemes of fraud and deceit, and hacking email and secure computer networks. The work of this industry can be haunting and ghoulish, ingenuous and exciting, but it also raises crucial moral and legal questions in a world where global conflicts are as likely to be corporation v. corporation as they are nation v. nation.
This globalized industry is not a recent phenomenon, but rather an extension of a checkered and fascinating history. The story begins with Allan Pinkerton, the nation's first true "private eye," and extends through the annals of a rich history that includes tycoons and playboys, presidents and FBI operatives, CEOs and accountants, Cold War veterans and military personnel. Built on exclusive reporting and unprecedented access, this book features accounts of Howard Hughes's private CIA, the extensive spying that took place in a battle between two global food companies, and interviews with some of the world's top corporate surveillance experts.