Monday, June 27, 2011, 6/27/2011 08:37:00 AM

Biscuit Tin as Foil to Corporate Espionage?

By Todd

This just in from the Financial Times - executives and officers at a German chemicals company are being asked to toss their mobile phones into a biscuit tin before important meetings to stop spies stealing trade secrets. Evonik believes the biscuit tins protect cellphones from being pirated.

Mobile phones, even when switched off, can be activated remotely and used to pick up sensitive conversations, according to Wirtschaftswoche, the magazine that first reported the story.
The sealed tin acts as a makeshift Faraday cage, blocking electromagnetic radiationto those in the room. The container also stops incoming calls and e-mails.

Evonik of Essen had sales of about €13.3bn ($18.5bn) and earnings before interest and tax of €1.6bn in 2010 and is considering a share sale this year that would be the German stock market’s largest in a decade.

It confirmed that it had placed the tins in conference rooms for use during sensitive meetings, such as those that involve research and development staff.

“[Corporate espionage] is an issue and we are mindful of that and have created a special corporate role to deal with it,” said the company. But Evonik dismissed as “pure speculation” the magazine’s assertion that was particularly keen to protect its expertise in lithium-ion batteries for use in electric vehicles.

This is the first we've heard of this use of the biscuit tin.


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