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The Royal Controversy Of Listening Devices

Adrian Mudd   June 18, 2008

The stories around Princess Diana have inspired many conspiracy theories. As anyone who has visited a spy shop will know, there are some incredibly sophisticated listening devices around nowadays – so was her home bugged?

The Royal ControversyThe Royal Controversy

It’s possible to buy some of the most sophisticated, high-tech bugging and surveillance equipment online. You don’t have to be working for the FBI, CIA, MI5 or be any other kind of official spook – spying and surveillance are necessary for many companies and private individuals to protect assets or monitor the safety of people and things.

But the whole issue of spying on others raises serious questions – legal and moral. And although it’s possible to buy a range of gadgets that are easily available and affordable to many from a dedicated specialist retailer, the whole debate is a prickly one.

The Blurry Line

There’s a blurry line when it comes to some of the spy equipment available to buy in spy shops – there are plenty of legitimate reasons to visit a spy shop but like anything in life, there is always the risk someone will abuse the power surveillance equipment can give. Even when it comes to the official security services, there are secrets and suspicions about the appropriate use of some of the monitoring devices available to buy from many dedicated spy shops.

‘Dark Forces’

Recent news reports highlight the claim that Princess Diana’s home may have been bugged. Diana died in a Paris car crash in 1997 but her death has fuelled many theories and investigations. A security expert told the inquest into her death that he searched Diana’s rooms before she died and did find a device on one occasion.

Although the kind of spying devices could have been bought from a spy shop by anyone, it’s believed because of high security in the palace, the devices were planted by an official source. The princess herself felt she was being spied on and expressed her concern about ‘dark forces’ at work.

Watched and listened to

But the signal the security expert discovered in Diana’s room was, he said, gone the next time he swept for devices. Like any device available to buy from a spy shop, its signals transmit in the same way as a radio or mobile – so the initial signal could have been entirely innocent. The fact that Diana had expressed concerns about being watched and listened to however raised concerns that she was, in fact, being spied on.