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

Author: Guardian, Published on: 12 December 2017

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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Related companies: British Airways Porsche (part of Volkswagen) Royal Bank of Scotland