--- Last updated September 2011 ---
Energy giants hire private security firm to infiltrate campaigners
According to communications leaked to The Guardian, the energy giant E.ON, Britain's second-biggest coal producer Scottish Resources Group and Scottish Power, one of the UK's largest electricity-generators, have been paying for the services of a private security firm that has been secretly monitoring activists.
Different from corporate espionage between two private firms, cases of corporate espionage against the public are being uncovered. Arguably the very industries whose environmental and social impacts are being challenged are delegating their dirty work to private security firms. Responding to The Guardian after Scottish Power, E.ON and SRG were exposed for employing the private security company Vericola, who was allegedly infiltrating campaign groups,
- E.ON said it had hired Vericola and another security firm, Global Open, on an "ad hoc" basis as its executives wanted to know when environmentalists were going to demonstrate at or invade its power stations and other premises, as they had done in the past. The E.ON spokesman said it asked Vericola only for publicly available information and if Todd (CEO of Vericola) and her colleagues had obtained private information, they had done so "under their own steam". SRG and Scottish Power did not comment.
Shortly before The Guardian released the story, Indymedia published a full account of the Vericola exposure. Indymedia published the full company details, the process by which activists gathered evidence about the infiltration and photos of Rebecca Todd. The groups which had been targeted were included, as were the email addresses she and her agents used so that campaigning groups can assess whether they had been infiltrated, and to what level.
Previous career with C2i
Indymedia stated that Rebecca Todd is a former employee of C2i International, a private security and intelligence gathering firm best known for its employment of Toby Kendall / Ken Tobias who attempted to infiltrate Plane Stupid. She has since struck out on her own to set up her own company, Vericola Ltd.
A spring 2008 newsletter of the security professionals association ASIS International (UK Chapter) lists Rebecca Todd as a new member working for C2i International along with former Scotland Yard detective Stephen Beels.
- Private security company Vericola’s infiltration exposed, Tilly Gifford, SpinWatch blog, 3 May 2011
- Rob Evans and Paul Lewis Revealed: how energy firms spy on environmental activists The Guardian,14/02/11, accessed 14/02/11
- Indymedia UK company, Vericola Ltd, uncovered after incompetence 14/02/11, accessed 25/02/11
- Indymedia UK Spying company, Vericola Ltd, uncovered after incompetence,Indymedia website, 14/02/11, accessed 25/02/11
- Scribd, ASIS Spring 2008 Newsletter - new members,p.10, accessed 1 March 2011