… to establish their tech/service as the “secure” remote communications of choice for global corporations and governments:
Maskelyne followed his trick with an even bigger showstopper. In June 1903, Marconi was set to demonstrate publically for the first time in London that morse code could be sent wirelessly over long distances. A crowd filled the lecture theatre of the Royal Institution while Marconi prepared to send a message around 300 miles away in Cornwall. The machinery began to tap out a message, but it didn’t belong to the Italian scientist.
“Rats rats rats rats,” it began. “There was a young fellow of Italy, who diddled the public quite prettily …” Maskelyne had hijacked the wavelength Marconi was using from a nearby theatre. He later wrote a letter to the Times confessing to the hack and, once again, claimed he did it to demonstrate the security flaws in Marconi’s system for the public good.
Of course cable could be undetectably be “sniffed” then as fiber cable can be sniffed today …