Big Brother was watching us for decades before governments had the technological power to track digital footprints and remotely record their citizens’ every move. Without satellite monitoring, data mining and biometric measurement, intelligence agencies relied on primitive physical surveillance to keep an eye on suspicious individuals. Cold War spies really did hide tiny cameras inside books, radios and cigarette packets and they did sometimes communicate using invisible ink. A new exhibition of spy gadgetry, surveillance photographs and declassified documents lifts the veil on how Australia’s secret agents have gone about their covert trade over the past century. Spy: Espionage in Australia has just opened at the Whitlam Institute within Western Sydney University and features exhibits never previously publicly seen. This camera concealed inside a John Player Special cigarette packet from about 1970 was designed so that the filters would be visible if the operator was required to flip open the lid. Cold War spy gadgetry like this was literally found in the back of ASIO office cupboards The tuning dial in this transistor radio has been removed to insert a concealed camera for covert surveillance in the mid 1960s. While the purpose of this device is clear, records were not… Read full this story
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