Friday, November 09, 2018

One way of fixing it

Private spy companies infiltrating environmental groups to disrupt and spy on them for governments and toxic industries seems to be becoming increasingly common. In New Zealand, there's a whole company, Thompson and Clark Investigations, specialising in it. But UK anti-asbestos activists have found a solution: sue the fuckers:

A private security firm has been forced to pay damages to five anti-asbestos campaigners after they discovered it had spied on them.

The firm, K2 Intelligence, paid an infiltrator for four years to masquerade as a sympathetic documentary-maker to obtain confidential information about leading activists in the worldwide campaign to ban asbestos.

K2 Intelligence, which made no admission of wrongdoing, agreed to make the payments after the five campaigners took legal action in the high court against it, Matteo Bigazzi, K2’s executive managing director in London, and the hired infiltrator, Robert Moore.

The size of the damages was not disclosed, but was described as substantial by the campaigners’ lawyers.

The high court in London had heard that K2 passed the information to clients in the asbestos industry. The court was told that the aim of the espionage was to gather information about the campaigners, their methods, funding and future plans.


The campaigners had taken legal action alleging breach of confidence, misuse of private information and breach of the Data Protection Act.

It would be interesting to see whether such an approach could work here. If so, Thompson and Clark's business model could get substantially riskier, both for their company and for them personally.