What is Vehicle Surveillance?
As a tool, vehicle surveillance no longer belongs to just law enforcement. Indeed, private individuals are using equipment attached to cars, trucks, and SUVs to track their partners, employees, and others. Particularly, with vehicle surveillance, the primary information sought is usually GPS location. For example:
Tracking a spouse’s movements in a family law case.
A manager tracks an employee he is obsessed with.
A witness in a lawsuit is tracked to gather information for the litigation.
However, sometimes the individual seeks more detailed information and will install equipment to gather audio, photos, and video. Regardless of means or motive, any electronic surveillance typically requires the same four things:
1. An Input Device.
Microphone, camera, and/or GPS location device.
2. Power Source.
The power source could be a separate battery or connection to the electrical system in the car.
3. Data Storage.
Memory to store the photos, videos, audio files, and GPS location information until the data is transferred or the device is collected.
4. Surveillance Information Transmission.
- Many surveillance devices include a cellular connection to transmit the information to the individual that could be running 24/7.
- Another common method to transmit vehicle surveillance information is through the home router. When the car is parked in the garage, it connects via Wi-Fi access to the internet router at the home.
- Frequently, we suggest checking the computer router log files and settings for surveillance transmission information.
Comprehensive Vehicle Bug Sweep & Counter Surveillance Services
Our training and experience apply to both an electronic and physical investigation of all types of vehicles (cars, trucks, aircraft, boats, motorcycles, RVs, and motor-homes).
We use a variety of equipment and methods to find surveillance on a vehicle. Our sophisticated, commercial-grade surveillance equipment is meant to find any surveillance device as well as determine where the surveillance information is going, and who is receiving it. This includes:
External Physical Inspection
A complete physical inspection of the outside of the vehicle including top, sides, and underneath. We prefer to do this in an auto garage with the vehicle on a lift, and we pay related garage fees. However, when an auto garage is unavailable, we do vehicle inspections just about anywhere – your garage, office parking lot, or even on the street with 6 inches snow on the ground!
Full Sweep & Electronic Inspection
Our inspections are thorough. To ensure a complete analysis, we bug sweep the inside and outside of the vehicle with the power switched off and on.
- With a spectrum analyzer, we retrieve information about the various signals emitted around or from the vehicle.
- We check the electrical system to identify any connected devices. If found, we locate and disable the device if you want us to.
- Our surveillance checks for not only the device but also the transmission of this surveillance information through cellular or other means.
Analyzing All Items in the Vehicle
Comprehensive physical surveillance should include not only the vehicle itself but all items contained inside the vehicle. For example:
- If your cell phone is inside the vehicle, then it may be the cause of the surveillance or be hooked up to devices to transmit surveillance information over the cellular connection.
- Name badges or things you often have in the vehicle with you such as purses, wallets, backpacks, kids’ toys, and more.
Common Spy Devices for Cars
There is a great variety of spy devices for cars. Online, you can buy a simple and inexpensive device, or even a more expensive, sophisticated device. See below for some examples.
Surveillance Devices Purchased Online
Online you can spend as little as $20 or over $400 for a single tracking device. Here are just a couple of examples:
iPhone as a Surveillance Device
Below is a picture of an iPhone we found strapped underneath a vehicle to track the GPS location of an ex-wife. This may sound silly but think about the capabilities of an iPhone – it can capture sound, photo/video, and location data, it has data storage, and it can send data through a cellular connection.
Other Surveillance Devices We Have Found
Gathering & Preserving Evidence
As lawyers, we are mindful of court rules and the importance of retrieving, preserving, and authenticating evidence to ensure it remains admissible in any type of legal proceeding. With this in mind, our methods ensure that you can authenticate and admit your evidence if needed in either a civil or criminal case. Additionally, we can refer you to a privacy attorney in your area and coordinate with that lawyer to provide any needed expert witness declarations or testimony for your case.
Signs You Might be Subject to Surveillance in Your Vehicle
If you are concerned that someone is spying on you, there are some signs that may tip you off. For example:
- Does someone keep showing up where you are or seem to know where you have been?
- Is there any impact on the driving of the vehicle or electronics that stopped working or work intermittently?
- Have you noticed radio interference lately?
- Learn more about GPS surveillance and privacy rights.