The History Of Spying
The history of spying is a long and complex one. It has developed over the centuries as the times have changed, however, the key elements of surprise and being discreet have remained the same. Here at Spyalot, we have embraced the modern world of spying and offer a range of products and an entire blog aimed at helping you spy effectively. This article will help you understand the history of spying and where spying is at now.
Why is Spying Necessary?
Spying is simply an attempt to find out the secrets of another. This can be applied to both international politics and to the everyday person. Spies can be both professional- like James Bond, or can be done by an amateur who simply has an interest in spying. Either way spying was always necessary to find out something that someone does not want you to know. Even throughout history, chiefs of tribes and kings of kingdoms have always tried to hide sensitive information from someone else- historically these may be things like the political situation in that region or how rich the leader was. With the rise of the internet and the age of information, secrets such as these have become easier to find so countries and leaders have worked harder to hide them. That also means that spies have worked harder to find them.
The modern relationship has also had an impact of spying as civilian spy apps and equipment has become more prominent in the market. There are now a huge number of apps and software companies that provide spying solutions for parents wanting to keep tabs on their children’s device usage and even partners who wish to watch their significant other. Despite the rather comic applications of these apps, this is a valid example of the way in which modern day spying is going.
The Early Spy?
When looking at the history of spying, it is best to start at the beginning. Spying back then was all about deceit and being sneaky. Often times for a spy to be able to infiltrate somewhere they would have to sneak into the city of camp where their target is. From there, they would sometimes have a correspondent on the inside where they could hide from guards, soldiers and local citizens. In order to conduct their spying, they would have to physically be there as there was no other way to capturing the necessary information- in many cases this would involve stealing the item and running away with it.
These initial methods were quite risky as a spy would often have to break in to a heavily guarded area in order to access the information of interest. Often times if a spy was caught, the spy would be tortured and if the alliance of the spy was revealed then he would be killed, his head cut off and placed on a spike and war declared. This fact made spying rather risky for a chief or king to undertake and so spying was done only be the most skilled people in the land.
Spying on partners and among other members of society was not quite as it was today. There was no product or service that could assist you with this and if you wanted to do it, you would have to get it done yourself.
However, it was not all alien as there were still such things as double agents, writing in code and spies working behind enemy lines. All of these things were common in the world of spies up until the Second World War
The Evolution Of Spying
As war and technology began to develop so did spying. Major changes happened in communication, the internet and the way in which countries waged conflict.
Firstly, as mentioned before, communication changes. In the ancient era of spying, communication would have to have been done in person or by writing letters. This was risky as letters could be intercepted and decoded and meeting in person carried its own risks. But, with the rise of the radio and telecommunications as a whole, communicating with your spy master and other spies became easier and newer technology became harder to track. This in turn also expanded the world of spying as spy branches had to monitor communications of their enemies.
The internet has truly revolutionised spying and unlocked a whole new dimension upon which countries can keep tabs on each other. So much information is traded via the internet that it is far easier to uncover secrets and countries need to try harder to keep private sensitive information. The age of the hacker and online spying is the new future and spying really as evolved from the days of agents in the field. In fact, the modern hacking spy may not be directly linked with a government. In the modern world, there are many hacking groups that appear to be apolitical and yet still have access to highly technical hacking software.
The way in which countries approach warfare has also meant that spying has changed. If you looked back on the ancient way of spying, you will see that the death of a captured spy and war being declared was often a way in which a country would deal with spying. However, because of the implications of a full blown modern war, countries make that decision rarely. That means that modern spying incidents like the Salisbury poisonings and the Russian hacking interference in the 2016 US presidential election, have not led to war and complex diplomatic routes are preferred.
Another very new addition to the word of spying is civilian spying software. There are now a huge number of new products available for people wishing to spy on their partners or their children. This has developed along with the freedoms of the internet and social media.
The Modern Spy
Nowadays, the modern spy looks quite a bit different to its older counterpart. There are even a huge number of changes between the modern spy and the image of James Bond that cinema has projected onto our screens and into our minds. In fact, the life of a spy is far less glamorous than Hollywood would have you think and the modern spy no longer spends his days wearing black tie, playing poker and carrying a Walter PPK.
The origins of the modern spy no longer come from either Oxford, Cambridge or Yale. Instead, organizations are increasingly looking to diversify their pool of workers and are drawing in spies from a wider range of educational backgrounds. However, with that said, the same skills are favoured, language skills, effective communication and knowledge of political power structures are all traditional spying qualities that are still liked by both domestic and international spy agencies. There have also been some newer qualifications that spy agencies are looking for- qualifications like: computing, code writing and social sciences are all new additions to a spy agencies ideal candidate.
When it comes to the life of the modern spy, it is very different from the life of James Bond. The modern spy will not spend thousands of hours in the field and will instead work in an office with many others. Although, there will be opportunities to travel, the job will not revolve around this. Chances are you will work in a department that is focused on a particular area of spying- this will match your own area of expertise and experience.
What About You ?
Now for the bit you have all been waiting for, how would I become a spy in the modern world. Below are a couple of recommendations that us at Spyalot can make to ensure that you have the best chance of becoming what you always wanted to be- a spy.
Firstly, learn a language. As mentioned above, this is one of the things that spy agencies and governments all around the world love in a candidate and something that is not just for show- it has real world applications and is something that will help you to no end. The language can be any language and it is best to choose something that you will enjoy learning, however, some of the best to learn are Mandarin, Russian and Japanese as these are the languages that are most favoured and needed.
Another thing is to start saving up. University is expensive and although agencies are taking recruits from more diverse backgrounds, getting into a good university will take you leaps and bounds ahead of other similar candidates. Paying for your university course will be expensive, so it is best to start saving now and plan for the future.
The last piece of advice is to work hard at school. Working hard at school will put you in the best position to get into a good university on the course you want. Put in the work now and reap the rewards later.
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