Technical Definitions

(links/citations included when appropriate)
Surveillance is the use of IT to monitor the actions of people. For example, monitoring may be used to track, record and assess employees’ performance. It can be used to support claims for promotions or to ensure employees follow the organization’s internet policy appropriately.

The use of IT to monitor the actions of people. It may be applied to observation from a distance by means of electronic equipment (such as CCTV cameras) or interception of electronically transmitted info (such as Internet traffic/phone calls).

Our Definitions in "Plain English"

Surveillance means using technology to keep an eye on certain people how they act and how they behave, such as criminals that are not yet captured or employees in a company. - Yoonjee

Close observation, especially of a suspected spy/criminal. - New Oxford American Dictionary

The monitoring of a person’s behavior and their activities, using technology. - Sondra

Images/Videos and Explanations

An owner of two internet cafés uses cameras to keep an eye of the customers. If the camera reads any movements, it automatically saves the video record (red box below). Also, a small alarm is made whenever a customer enters the café.
surveillance1.png

In a parking lot for example, there are lots of CCTV camera systems already installed for security purposes. In the picture below, the security people constantly view bunch of screens from CCTV in order to prevent from accidents occurring.
from http://www2.macleans.ca/2011/04/13/harpers-promise-a-warrantless-online-surveillance-state/
from http://www2.macleans.ca/2011/04/13/harpers-promise-a-warrantless-online-surveillance-state/

Surveillance now comes in different forms, some are visible while other forms can only be traced with tracking devices. A visible form of surveillance is cameras. These can be placed anywhere from street corners or inside of stores. With these surveillance cameras muggings and shoplifting can be prevented for the face of the person can be caught by the camera. Some traffic lights also have camera’s in order to catch red light passers.


Examples of Surveillance

  • While some consider surveillance as an invasion of privacy, the government and law enforcement find it very useful in the aiding of maintaining social control, recognizing and monitoring threats, and preventing or investigating criminal activity. For example, the FBI will monitor a criminals email and cellphone in order to learn unknown information.


Positives of Surveillance

  • It can be relevant proof of some scene when the person himself was not at the scene.
  • It helps a person to look at different places at the same time.
  • It helps maintain security.
  • On one hand, video clips from CCTV cameras could become necessary evidences for investigations
  • Lead to reduction in damages such as vandalism or theft (increased safety)


Negatives of Surveillance

  • If there are too many, it can intrude one’s privacy.
  • It is not 100% sure that it can lower crime rate.
  • It might not have any effect on employees who do not care being seen or not. (making them work hard etc.)
  • On the other hand, surveillance could invade one’s privacy since the CCTV camera systems are installed everywhere for instance, in parking lots or other public buildings/areas
  • According to the section, <Privacy & Surveillance> (in http://www.internetrights.org.uk/briefings/irtb05-rev1-draft.pdf ) too much of surveillance is “… increasingly being initiated by the private sector as a means of protecting intellectual property rights”.
  • Misuse of captured pictures from public surveillance
  • With such advanced technology, today any person can obtain surveillance tools. This can be dangerous because people who should not have these devices, such as stalkers, can easily monitor a person.
  • As stated before, many people see surveillance camera’s as an invasion of privacy. As the article “Pros and cons of Hidden Surveillance Cameras” states, people “have an expectation of privacy that many feel hidden surveillance cameras trample upon.”
  • Surveillance can’t guarantee security because it is subject to hacking. People are able to have a previous recording showing on the camera so no one is suspicious of anything happening.
  • Nowadays it is also possible to spy on someone via a computer that has a camera in it or connected to it. The video below (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FX6i_wsh3TY) makes such a thing seem harmless but criminals can easily hack into a system to view when you are home.



Relevant News Articles


Nowadays it is also possible to spy on someone via a computer that has a camera in it or connected to it. This video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FX6i_wsh3TY) makes such a thing seem harmless but criminals can easily hack into a system to view when you are home.