Friday, September 14, 2007

The rules of spying

In defiance of NFL rules New England Patriots Coach Bill Belichick used a video camera to steal signals from the New York Jets last Sunday, resulting in personal and team fines and the loss of one or more draft picks.

This is really big news. Spying is ubiquitous and has tacit approval, in sports, government, business, even love. The only rule is not to get caught, but even then a slap on the wrist is usually the most severe consequence, unless you play for the wrong side, in which case you probably get the death penalty.

The CIA? We don’t want to know – we even keep the size of their budget a secret.
Business? Hewlett-Packard spied on board members a few years ago and their stock has never been higher.

Love? Private detectives, spy software, Bluetooth cellphone snatching, you name it – they’re all tools to find cheating spouses and maximize divorce settlements.

Baseball? Major Leaguer Moe Berg, who, when traveling to Japan on a major league All-Star team in 1934, took home movies of the Tokyo skyline that were used in the planning of General Jimmy Doolittle's 1942 bombing raids. The U.S. government wrote a letter to Berg, thanking him for the movies.

Don’t expect Belichick to get a letter like that - except from his fans.

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