National Cyber Security Centre marks first year of protecting the UK

In the last 12 months cyber experts within the new National Cyber Security Centre received 1,131 incident reports, with 590 classed as significant . A report published to mark the first anniversary of the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) highlights the work undertaken by the organisation to help improve the safety and security of online activities and transactions in the UK. The NCSC, which is part of GCHQ, exists as a single, one stop shop for UK cyber security.

The centre acknowledges there is still a lot of work to be done but points out the progress in the first 12 months, which includes preventing thousands of attacks, providing support for the UK Armed Forces and managing hundreds of incidents. The NCSC has also helped to foster a pipeline of the next generation of experts and is working with businesses and universities to nurture technology for tackling cybercrime. According to Jeremy Fleming, director of GCHQ, cyber is playing an increasingly important part in daily lives and in the UK s approach to security, with threats evolving rapidly as technology advances. Our response has been to transform to stay ahead of them. The NCSC is a pivotal part of that transformation. It is a critical component not only of GCHQ, where it benefits from the data and expertise it has access to as part of the intelligence community, but of how the government as a whole works to keep the UK safe, Fleming said. Free Download: the CyberSecurity Crashcourse Are you even aware if you have been the victim of a cybersecurity breach?

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Fixed cameras will account for less than 50% of surveillance footage in five years time

Bjorn Skou Eilertsen, CTO of Milestone Systems, was thinking big in the Security Management Theatre on day three of IFSEC International. Speaking on the topic of how hardware-accelerated video content analysis and the internet of things will transform surveillance , he reflected on the changes disrupting the industry now and the paradigm shift still to come. With 90% of the world s data created in the last two years, the term big data doesn t even begin to encapsulate the magnitude of the data revolution, he argues.

Is big data even enough now? Gigantic data might be better, said Eilertsen. Despite the ubiquity of fixed CCTV cameras, they account for a shrinking share of surveillance footage as mobiles, body-worn cameras and drones proliferate. We believe that in less than five years from now, more than 50% of streams managed by video management systems will not be from fixed cameras, he predicted. Aggregation, automation and augmentation A trinity of aggregation, automation and augmentation will equip the industry to accommodate the burgeoning volume of data, said Eilertsen, who joined Milestone in 2013 having worked for both IBM and Microsoft. Aggregation happens all around you, he explained. Only a few years ago it would be a fixed camera, fixed sensors, very rule-based. But now there are 285 million surveillance cameras in operation. That s only a fraction, because everything is being captured on mobile.

With neural networks we can start predicting behaviour. Bjorn Skou Eilertsen, CTO, Milestone Systems How do we automate these things? This is where our vision of intelligent data plays a role. Deep learning plays a role. Augmentation: how do we put these things together? So a vast amount of information is being gathered. This is why a lot is going to happen on the service side. People think it will be on the edge, out there on a single device. Eilertsen pointed out that Data is already being aggregated from multiple sources in an automated process deployed on assembly lines in manufacturing plants.

Aggregating forms patterns, but it s so much information petabyte after petabyte of video and sensor information. What will we do with it? Who is going to look at the patterns and figure out what the intelligence is? That is where the important changes are coming in terms of AI, deep learning and neural networks. For simple systems with only a few components, it s fairly easy to make rule-based analytics and go with the flow. However: When you start aggregating data so big and complicated that humans simply cannot operate them, that s where automation and augmentation come in. Neural networks The shackles are now off thanks to quantum leaps in technology. This has been difficult to do for a long time because conventional CPUs cannot compute fast enough. That s changing now with the introduction of the GPU, said Eilertsen.

The GPU is a multicore computer. It changes the way we can make models, neural networks. It makes a lot of different ways of working the data. The days of having one company try and do everything is over in my opinion. Bjorn Skou Eilertsen, CTO, Milestone Systems He refers to a prototype that can show 1,500 surveillance cameras, to full HD quality, continuously recording, including motion detection. For those who can t do the maths, that s 45,000 frames a second. It is very, very difficult to do on regular computer hardware. He says there is a big shift away from conventional, rule-based analytics to systems managed by neural networks. Neural networks, deep learning algorithms and artificial intelligence are not based on fixed outcomes.

The problem about today s analytics is it s a predetermined outcome. With neural networks we can start predicting behaviour, he says. However, human operators will still have a role to play. How do we make machine intelligence combine with human intelligence? The point is to enable people to make faster and better decisions. He says this new paradigm has huge potential in the field of body-worn video for law enforcement. You can take all the aggregated media from years back, days back, minutes back, and time-lapse it. They identify all different objects and put them into a sequence, so a one-hour video can be reviewed in one minute. That s a really good example of how we start adding human interaction based on machine learning.

It really makes it a lot easier to work with these systems. Collaboration Collaboration with partners has long been part of Milestone s modus operandi, but its importance is growing further still. The aggregation, automation and augmentation will transform the entire industry, says Eilertsen. But it s impossible to do alone. For a very long time it s been everyone on their own trying to make their own analytics a little bit better than the rest. But it s really holding back innovation. What Milestone and the Milestone community is really about is enabling everyone to participate. If he s correct about the industry s direction of travel then the changes ahead are nothing short of revolutionary. The days of having one company try and do everything is over in my opinion.

We all need to collectively move forward. I think in five years when we look back at the industry, we ll have two ways of looking at it. One person will say: Why did we miss it, why didn t we see what was happening? The other, more interesting way is: How did we use our imagination, how did we change the rules, set the agenda and change the industry? We need to think as a community. We need to start innovating together, and we can move a lot faster. Free download: The video surveillance report 2017 Sponsored by IDIS The Video Surveillance Report 2017 covers all things video surveillance based on a poll of hundreds of security professionals.

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Man and machine: How to team up to meet cybersecurity challenges

In today s cybersecurity landscape, the pressure is on. CISOs and other executives are suffering security insomnia : attack surfaces are growing exponentially, their security teams are receiving overwhelming numbers of alerts, real threats are masked by false positives, and the numbers of serious breaches are reaching new records the list goes on and on. To protect their organizations, a paradigm shift is required, a new holistic approach that cuts detection-to-response time and provides complete visibility across network, endpoint, and payload.

The systems must offer continuous, round-the clock incident monitoring, detection, and investigation, all while reducing operating costs and addressing the ever-expanding cybersecurity skills gap. The Answer: Automate the analyst Driverless taxi cabs in major cities are becoming a reality. If you can automate something that complex, why not automate cyber investigations? Automating investigations frees up valuable human analyst time so he/she can focus on tasks that DO require human judgment and intuition. Automating the complex work of incident investigation slashes dwell time and makes security operations vastly more efficient. Verint Systems is exhibiting at IFSEC International, which runs from 20-22 June 2017 at London ExCeL. You can find them on stand G375. Get your free badge now. Here s why.

The automated analyst: Thinks just like a human investigator Virtual investigators gather evidence, extract leads, create an intelligence map, build hypotheses, and then verify or refute said hypothesis, just like an analyst would. Unlike humans, though, it can analyze thousands of leads per day, providing analysts with clear, visual incident storylines that accelerate detection and response. Combines the best of man and machine In a great example of teamwork, the machine documents workflow and rationale for the human analyst. When the analyst adds new evidence, the machine re-evaluates the incident. The machine also learns from the analyst how to improve future investigations. Collects the right information Automated investigation ensures that analysts get the big picture when complex threats are detected the complete information that is necessary to resolve the threats. Automation gives analysts total visibility of the attack surface from attack chain to the attack vectors; from network, endpoints, and files to the organization s ecosystem gleaning insights as sensors share the data. Blends detection with proactive forensics Automated forensic analysis, using a full set of network and endpoint forensics tools, helps incident response teams identify the root cause, trace the attack storyline, and contain attacks before data is exfiltrated. Combined with intelligence from other sources, it allows analysts to connect the dots among seemingly unrelated events and understand how the attackers entered, what systems are compromised, and what and how to contain, remediate, and prevent future incidents.

Transforms alerts into actionable intelligence Automated investigation can extract essential information from every piece of evidence, build linkage and context, visualize for immediate response, and update the intelligence map in real time. Man, machine or both? Cyber attacks are getting more and more sophisticated. Due to the volume and complexity, man cannot fight them alone. Human analysts are no match for today s advanced threats, which vigorously act to avoid detection, often lying undiscovered for months. This is where virtual analysts come in, to perform the grunt work, including: Gathering, analyzing, and prioritizing information Sifting daily alerts, and synthesizing them to create a forensic timeline for an incident Documenting every step of the investigation and facilitating information sharing Continuously reviewing evidence to confirm or refute attacks, transforming thousands of leads into a handful of prioritized incidents that tell the attack story Streamlining the process and improving SOC efficiency By freeing up human analysts of routine and repetitive tasks, and eliminating human errors, the human pros can more effectively handle the work that require human experience and insight, including: Dive deeper into incidents, for example, by analyzing the content of suspicious network traffic Check open source intelligence for additional information on detected threats Run additional forensic investigations on endpoints and network for additional evidence collection Suggesting how to respond, remediate, or contain the threats/attacks With automated investigations, companies can now stop scrambling to put out cyber fires. Visit Europe s leading security event in June 2017 Visit IFSEC International for exclusive access to every security product on the market, live product demonstrations and networking with thousands of security professionals. From access control and video surveillance to smart buildings, cyber, border control and so much more. It is the perfect way to keep up to date, protect your business and enhance your career in the security industry.

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Securing UK borders: An examination of the implications of leaving the EU for UK border management

Recent tragic events in Manchester and London have, among other things, underscored the importance to national security of getting Brexit right. From Europol membership to the Schengen Information System, the UK is at risk of losing access to vital collaborative tools in a wide range of areas. This report, which was commissioned by London First s Security & Resilience Network, focuses on the implications of leaving the EU for the management of the UK s borders.

For effective management, the desire to have secure borders must be balanced against making it as easy as possible for international business to thrive and legitimate movement to occur. Finite resources can then be targeted effectively. The report considers how this can be achieved in a post-Brexit UK. It follows an earlier report by the Security & Resilience Network that examined the Security and Resilience Implications of Brexit. The report was launched at a London First briefing on 7 June 2017 and distributed at the IFSEC International 2017 exhibition (20-22 June 2017), which includes for the first time the Borders and Infrastructure Expo. UBM, the organiser of IFSEC, sponsors this report. Get your free badge for IFSEC now.

The authors of the report are: Alison Wakefield PhD, Senior Lecturer in Security Risk Management, University of Portsmouth Claire Bradley, European Law Monitor CIC Joe Connell, Director, Praemunitus Ltd Intelligence & Risk Consultants and Chairman, Association of Security Consultants John Vine CBE QPM, former Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration Robert Hall, Director, Security & Resilience Network, London First.

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Blue light warning: How the false alarm epidemic continues to resist all remedies

More than 50% of the 600,000 callout incidents attended by fire and rescue services annually (FRS) are false alarms, according to the latest statistics from the Fire Service. The cost of this wasted time for both business and the fire service is estimated to be well in excess of 1 billion per year, in part as a result of downtime from groundless evacuations. In the last five years this position has not appreciably changed.

What s more, false fire alarms from automatic alarm systems due to poor maintenance are on the increase. As to the ratio between real fire emergencies and false alarms, regrettably in England a sustained trend for the past five years shows the number of false alarm call outs actually exceeding real primary fire call outs by a significant margin, which is in itself a damningly cautionary finding. In London this ratio is, exceptionally, two to one (and currently reflecting a slight increase in unwanted calls against target aims). These blue light responses, then, to automated unwanted fire alarm signals (UFAS) represent a grave menace, hindering services that could be needed at a genuine emergency or even interrupting critical front-line training for first responders . Beyond such considerations as this needless burden on the FRS authorities, business disruptions that lead to a loss of productivity, the reduced confidence of the general public, and even the environmental impact of inessential emergency appliance movements all need to be taken into account. Hospitals have been identified as responsible for the vast majority of the false alarms that the capital s firefighters are called out to And this persistent malfunctioning of fire alarms is even more glaringly highlighted when you stop to consider the recent deliberations by the UK government on the creation of multi-agency Strategic Command Centres embracing the blue light emergency services Fire, Ambulance and Police. In the view of some analysts, this new configuration of the services is likely to spark debate about multiple call outs and the cost implications of all three services responding to incidents, when so very often a reported event can be a false alert. Tri-Service Control Centres It s a concern foreseen and amplified by the Chief Fire Officers Association, one of whose chief officers comments: Until an event is attended and confirmed as a false alarm it will always be treated as an emergency and responded to by the appropriate service or services. The National Police Chiefs Council also anticipates an enhanced collaborative response arising from the Tri-Service Control Centres: We welcome any opportunity to enable the blue light services to work more effectively together in the public interest . . .

They can concentrate expertise, save money, help deal with crises and share best practice. So, in short, this proposed drive towards a more joined-up response to emergencies intends to coordinate front-line services to yield more efficiencies in time-savings and management of personnel, with joint decision-making aimed to prioritise blue light call outs concentrated on inter-operable control rooms. Yet the question remains, will these new efficiencies be reciprocated by risk management in a renewed commitment to defeat false alarms in their communities by improving the functional integrity of the Automatic Fire Detection and Fire Alarm Systems (AFDS) on which the public rely? Hospitals Since the London Fire Brigade (LFB) introduced its penalty charging scheme for excessive false fire alarm call outs in January 2014, the potential for the LFB to collect millions in penalties from the worst culprits in the capital has remained a possible outcome (at present, for 2017, the scheme is suspended for review). Hospitals have been identified as responsible for the vast majority of the false alarms that the capital s firefighters are called out to. The LFB s figures from before the scheme s inception show that firefighters were called out, overall, to over 400 locations annually (each more than ten times) in response to false fire alarms, costing the brigade about 800,000. This frequency equates to a false alarm every 15 minutes in London. Overall, false alarms from automatic systems still account for around 40,000 call outs for the LFB every year, set against call outs of around half that number to real fires. The very latest LFB figures for cost recovery for non domestic premises generating 10 or more calls a year, continue to record a potential recovery value on average of approaching 500,000 in charges every 12 months.

Crying Wolf Unwanted Fire Signals that cry wolf in this manner place a vast burden on Fire and Rescue Services by unnecessarily tying up fire engines and firefighters on needless call-outs, when they may be needed at a genuine emergency. Sophisticated predictive technology reduces the problem by resolving potential problems before they arise That is why the pressure on risk management and, more particularly, Responsible Persons to cut the risks of false alarms is intensifying. What s more, by tolerating a norm of frequent needless fire alarm annunciations, negligent premises management can create a dangerous mood of apathy among staff that could very easily lead to widespread irresponsiveness should a real fire break out. Intelligence convergence for remote troubleshooting For responsible risk management, current best practice conditioned by ecological concerns seeks to reduce the impact on the environment that potentially arises from the life cycle of a fire system. Today, fire prevention is an essential element of Building Management Systems (BMSs) integrated with an IT infrastructure purposed to fully exploit Intelligence Convergence, allowing direct integration into intelligent buildings via any device capable of establishing an internet connection, granting risk management instant access to review the system, including the status of fire detection devices in real time. Current solutions encompass smart security systems such as access control/ID systems, video surveillance/analytics, intrusion detection, and life safety . . . all extending the capability for remote diagnostics that confer the ecological benefits of increased efficiency yielded by fault-free systems. For example: servicing, maintenance and false call outs all contribute to increased CO2 levels in the atmosphere leading to changes in global environmental conditions. These hazards can be significantly reduced by the use of sophisticated predictive technology, reducing the need to travel by allowing potential problems to be resolved before they arise.

Predictive technology can include the management of fire and security servicing inspection routines, false fire alarm interrogation and diagnosis, or the scheduling of system maintenance call-outs. At the same time, these examples of Intelligence Convergence can benefit users with the capability to support a full audit trail for traceability and regulatory compliance.

10 practical steps towards combating the false alarms menace As the latest statistics suggest, a number of remedies to stimulate behavioural change can be derived from analysis of common shortcomings at malfunctioning sites: Enhanced maintenance routines are evidently a priority, and certainly they re a key requirement embedded in any regular review a fire risk assessment in compliance with the Fire Safety Order Troubleshooting for predictive maintenance is facilitated by comprehensively monitored configurable Automatic Fire Alarm systems to ensure integrity of alarm device functionality, supported by EN 54-2 approved Analogue Addressable panels. Specification of sensing devices that further reduce susceptibility to false alarms by their embedded intelligence to discriminate between spurious fire events and genuine ones. Multisensors are the considered choice when replacing problem detectors; or the changing of devices from smoke to heat in certain locations when necessary. Specification of high-integrity fire data communications via accessible configurable networks whose performance to minimise false activations is defined by the highest reliability in resistance to outside interference. Constant reviews should be maintained as to change of use within premises because such changes can affect the sensitivity of detectors, requiring appointed fire alarm maintenance personnel to update/upgrade the system. Improved training of responsible risk management. Advise users of fire detection systems that these lifelines are connected to an ARC (Alarm Receiving Centre) and emphasise the gravity of an UFAS (automated unwanted fire alarm signal) resulting in a costly call out, endangering genuine call outs. More rigorous supervision of negligent testing of the system where the routine to take it off-line is persistently disregarded thus triggering a UFAS at the ARC.

Incorrect positioning of sensing/detecting devices contrary to specification s installation data. Unregulated misuse of premises: toasters, cigarette smoking, steam from kettle in office, even aerosol sprays (used by cleaning staff) near smoke detectors can cause false alarms. Arising from recommendations that both BS 5839-1:2013 and BS 9999:2017 lay emphasis on, accurate up-to-date Zone Plans for rapid orientation for building occupants and the emergency services alike are cited as key aids. Such plans should be adjacent to the control & indicating equipment and, as may be imagined, their prominent depiction of fire alarm zones that accurately match the physical layout within the building hasten the identification of the location of alarms in an emergency, whether real or false. Visit FIREX International for cutting-edge solutions, essential knowledge and the ability to grow your business by getting direct access to the whole fire safety industry. It is the perfect place to get your product in front of thousands of buyers, across a multitude of featured areas. From the brand new Drone Zone, the ARC Village, ASFP Passive Protection Zone, the Engineers of Tomorrow competition and more, it s all under one roof so you ll never miss a beat.

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Reform Surveillance – Official Site

Reform Government Surveillance

Global Government Surveillance Reform

The undersigned companies believe that it is time for the world s governments to address the practices and laws regulating government surveillance of individuals and access to their information. While the undersigned companies understand that governments need to take action to protect their citizens safety and security, we strongly believe that current laws and practices need to be reformed. Consistent with established global norms of free expression and privacy and with the goals of ensuring that government law enforcement and intelligence efforts are rule-bound, narrowly tailored, transparent, and subject to oversight, we hereby call on governments to endorse the following principles and enact reforms that would put these principles into action.

The Principles

  1. 1

    Limiting Governments Authority to Collect Users Information

    Governments should codify sensible limitations on their ability to compel service providers to disclose user data that balance their need for the data in limited circumstances, users reasonable privacy interests, and the impact on trust in the Internet. In addition, governments should limit surveillance to specific, known users for lawful purposes, and should not undertake bulk data collection of Internet communications.

  2. 2

    and Accountability

    Intelligence agencies seeking to collect or compel the production of information should do so under a clear legal framework in which executive powers are subject to strong checks and balances. Reviewing courts should be independent and include an adversarial process, and governments should allow important rulings of law to be made public in a timely manner so that the courts are accountable to an informed citizenry.

  3. 3

    Transparency About Government Demands

    Transparency is essential to a debate over governments surveillance powers and the scope of programs that are administered under those powers. Governments should allow companies to publish the number and nature of government demands for user information. In addition, governments should also promptly disclose this data publicly.

  4. 4

    Respecting the Free Flow of Information

    The ability of data to flow or be accessed across borders is essential to a robust 21st century global economy. Governments should permit the transfer of data and should not inhibit access by companies or individuals to lawfully available information that is stored outside of the country. Governments should not require service providers to locate infrastructure within a country s borders or operate locally.

  5. 5

    Avoiding Conflicts Among Governments

    In order to avoid conflicting laws, there should be a robust, principled, and transparent framework to govern lawful requests for data across jurisdictions, such as improved mutual legal assistance treaty or MLAT processes. Where the laws of one jurisdiction conflict with the laws of another, it is incumbent upon governments to work together to resolve the conflict.

Voices For Reform

AOL is committed to preserving the privacy of our customers information, while respecting the right of governments to request information on specific users for lawful purposes. AOL is proud to unite with other leading Internet companies to advocate on behalf of our consumers. Tim Armstrong, Chairman and CEO, AOL Reports about government surveillance have shown there is a real need for greater disclosure and new limits on how governments collect information. The US government should take this opportunity to lead this reform effort and make things right. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO, Facebook The security of users data is critical, which is why we ve invested so much in encryption and fight for transparency around government requests for information. This is undermined by the apparent wholesale collection of data, in secret and without independent oversight, by many governments around the world. It s time for reform and we urge the US government to lead the way. Larry Page, CEO, Google These principles embody LinkedIn s fundamental commitment to transparency and ensuring appropriate government practices that are respectful of our members expectations. Erika Rottenberg, General Counsel, LinkedIn People won t use technology they don t trust. Governments have put this trust at risk, and governments need to help restore it. Brad Smith, General Counsel and Executive Vice President, Legal and Corporate Affairs, Microsoft Twitter is committed to defending and protecting the voice of our users. Unchecked, undisclosed government surveillance inhibits the free flow of information and restricts their voice. The principles we advance today would reform the current system to appropriately balance the needs of security and privacy while safeguarding the essential human right of free expression. Dick Costolo, CEO, Twitter Protecting the privacy of our users is incredibly important to Yahoo.

Recent revelations about government surveillance activities have shaken the trust of our users, and it is time for the United States government to act to restore the confidence of citizens around the world. Today we join our colleagues in the tech industry calling on the United States Congress to change surveillance laws in order to ensure transparency and accountability for government actions. Marissa Mayer, CEO, Yahoo

May 19, 2015

Dear Members of the Senate,

Later this week the Senate has an opportunity to pass meaningful and balanced surveillance reform by considering the bipartisan USA Freedom Act. The bill overwhelmingly passed the House with 338 votes. Members from across the political spectrum supported it. Delaying action on reform by extending expiring authorities for two months or any extended period of time would be a missed opportunity. The USA Freedom Act prevents the bulk collection of Internet metadata under various authorities. The bill allows for transparency about government demands for user information from technology companies and assures that the appropriate oversight and accountability mechanisms are in place.

Our companies came together two years ago to push for essential reforms that are necessary to protect national security, strengthen civil liberties, reaffirm user trust in the Internet, and promote innovation. The Senate can begin delivering on those reforms by passing the USA Freedom Act. Sincerely,

Reform Government Surveillance

RGS Statement In Support of Bipartisan, Bicameral FISA Reform Legislation

Statement of Reform Government Surveillance:

Reform Government Surveillance commends the introduction of surveillance reform legislation today in the House and the Senate. We support the bicameral, bipartisan legislation, which ends existing bulk collection practices under the USA Patriot Act and increases transparency and accountability while also protecting U.S. national security.

We thank Representatives Goodlatte, Sensenbrenner, Conyers and Nadler and Senators Lee, Leahy, Heller, and Franken, as well as other Members, who have worked hard over the past several months to draft a common sense bill that addresses the concerns of industry, the Intelligence Community, and civil society in a constructive and balanced manner. We look forward to working with Congress to pass this legislation by June 1st.

An open letter to Washington

December 2013

Dear Mr. President and Members of Congress,

We understand that governments have a duty to protect their citizens. But this summer s revelations highlighted the urgent need to reform government surveillance practices worldwide. The balance in many countries has tipped too far in favor of the state and away from the rights of the individual rights that are enshrined in our Constitution. This undermines the freedoms we all cherish. It s time for a change.

For our part, we are focused on keeping users data secure deploying the latest encryption technology to prevent unauthorized surveillance on our networks and by pushing back on government requests to ensure that they are legal and reasonable in scope. We urge the US to take the lead and make reforms that ensure that government surveillance efforts are clearly restricted by law, proportionate to the risks, transparent and subject to independent oversight. To see the full set of principles we support, visit ReformGovernmentSurveillance.com1


AOL, Apple, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter, Yahoo

2014 – 2015.

All trademarks are the property of their respective owners.


  1. ^ (

State surveillance | Liberty

State sanctioned surveillance against specific individuals takes place on a massive scale, using the broad and confusing framework created under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) which regulates the use of and access to surveillance by public bodies. This involves five types of different surveillance:

  1. Interception of communications e.g. listening to telephone calls, reading letters and emails
  2. Intrusive surveillance e.g. placing bugs and filming in private places
  3. Directed surveillance e.g. filming and covertly monitoring specific people generally in public places
  4. Use of covert human intelligence sources e.g. informants and undercover operatives
  5. Accessing communications data e.g. accessing the record (but not the content) of emails, telephone calls and websites visited.

Under RIPA hundreds of public bodies have access to the last three types of surveillance including over 470 local authorities. Surveillance can be authorised for a wide range of purposes which includes such vague purposes as preventing disorder or collecting tax.

Interception of communications and some types of intrusive surveillance are authorised by the Home Secretary and other types of surveillance are largely self-authorised. Liberty believes that RIPA must be reformed to ensure that intrusions into personal privacy are all properly authorised and comply with human rights principles of necessity and proportionality. The main changes we are calling for are:

  • Surveillance requests (including interception, acquisition of communications data, use of Covert Human Intelligence Sources etc) must be subject to prior judicial authorisation. There is growing consensus on the need for judicial not political warrantry.
  • No new Snoopers Charter powers to require communications companies to store more and more revealing types of our communications data. David Anderson warned that the case had not been made1.

    Only Russia requires service providers to routinely store the weblogs of all their customers.

  • Surveillance should be conducted only for a narrow range of tightly defined purposes i.e. investigation of serious crime and other legitimate objectives such as preventing risk to life instead of the vague and non-crime related purposes currently permitted e.g. for communications data.
  • All surveillance powers should be publicly disclosed and the safeguards and processes for authorisation set out in in primary legislation. This is not currently the case at least with regard to CNE aka hacking.
  • Improved redress mechanisms for those subject to unlawful surveillance the IPT should be overhauled and made more transparent with a right of appeal and an ability to make declarations of incompatibility and once an investigation has been completed, or once a person is no longer under any suspicion, he or she should be notified of the relevant surveillance unless there is a specific reason for maintaining secrecy.
  • The bar on the admissibility of intercept evidence, properly obtained, in criminal proceedings should be lifted. Why is this vital evidence not used to bring perpetrators to justice?
  • Legal and proportionate arrangements for the sharing of surveillance data should be agreed between the UK and foreign States, made publically available and incorporated into law.
  • Improvement of Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties (MLAT) the appropriate legal route for the UK authorities to obtain data from foreign tech firms should replace attempts to place extraterritorial obligations on overseas service providers.
  • Legislative protection against the breaking of encryption standards.
  • A targeted as opposed to blanket approach to communications data retention and interception.

Liberty s position on RIPA is set out in greater detail in this consultation response (PDF).2

In June 2013 the Snowden leaks revealed that GCHQ, the UK’s eavesdropping agency, is intercepting and processing billions of communications every day and sharing the information with the US. This includes recordings of phone calls, the content of email messages, entries on social media sites and the history of an internet user’s access to websites. All without public acknowledgement.

The project Tempora has been in existence since the beginning of 2012. The leaks also suggest that the US authorities have similarly breathtaking and direct access to global communications via the world s biggest internet companies. This secretive programme is known as PRISM and reports suggest that the UK also accesses this data. In May 2013 the Draft Communications Data Bill was notable by its absence from the Queen s Speech. It would have required internet and phone companies to retain records of our calls, emails, texts and web visits.

It now appears those who failed to make the case for the Draft Comms Bill already smuggled a more intrusive Snoopers Charter for blanket surveillance through the back door. Liberty has filed a claim against the British security services for their role in PRISM and Tempora. We will be lobbying and campaigning for urgent amendment to the outdated laws governing surveillance and an end to blanket surveillance of the population.


  1. ^ David Anderson warned that the case had not been made (
  2. ^ consultation response (PDF). (

Surveillance – Wikipedia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia This article is about observing people’s actions and communications. For the article about monitoring the spread of diseases, see disease surveillance. For other uses, see Surveillance (disambiguation). “Electronic surveillance” redirects here. For surveillance of electronic computer systems, see Computer surveillance. Surveillance - Wikipedia A ‘nest’ of surveillance cameras

Surveillance (/s r ve . ns/ or /s r ve l ns/)1 is the monitoring of the behavior, activities, or other changing information, usually of people for the purpose of influencing, managing, directing, or protecting them.2 This can include observation from a distance by means of electronic equipment (such as CCTV cameras),3 or interception of electronically transmitted information (such as Internet traffic or phone calls); and it can include simple, relatively no- or low-technology methods such as human intelligence agents and postal interception. The word surveillance comes from a French phrase for “watching over” (“sur” means “from above” and “veiller” means “to watch”), and is in contrast to more recent developments such as sousveillance.456

Surveillance is used by governments for intelligence gathering, the prevention of crime, the protection of a process, person, group or object, or for the investigation of crime. It is also used by criminal organizations to plan and commit crimes such as robbery and kidnapping, by businesses to gather intelligence, and by private investigators. Surveillance is often a violation of privacy, and is opposed by various civil liberties groups and activists.78Liberal democracies have laws which restrict domestic government and private use of surveillance, usually limiting it to circumstances where public safety is at risk. Authoritarian government seldom have any domestic restrictions; and international espionage is common among all types of countries.



Surveillance - Wikipedia Official seal of the Information Awareness Office — a U.S.

agency which developed technologies for mass surveillance Main article: Computer surveillance

The vast majority of computer surveillance involves the monitoring of data and traffic on the Internet.9 In the United States for example, under the Communications Assistance For Law Enforcement Act, all phone calls and broadband Internet traffic (emails, web traffic, instant messaging, etc.) are required to be available for unimpeded real-time monitoring by Federal law enforcement agencies.101112

There is far too much data on the Internet for human investigators to manually search through all of it. So automated Internet surveillance computers sift through the vast amount of intercepted Internet traffic and identify and report to human investigators traffic considered interesting by using certain “trigger” words or phrases, visiting certain types of web sites, or communicating via email or chat with suspicious individuals or groups.13 Billions of dollars per year are spent, by agencies such as the Information Awareness Office, NSA, and the FBI, to develop, purchase, implement, and operate systems such as Carnivore, NarusInsight, and ECHELON to intercept and analyze all of this data, and extract only the information which is useful to law enforcement and intelligence agencies.14

Computers can be a surveillance target because of the personal data stored on them. If someone is able to install software, such as the FBI’s Magic Lantern and CIPAV, on a computer system, they can easily gain unauthorized access to this data. Such software could be installed physically or remotely.15 Another form of computer surveillance, known as van Eck phreaking, involves reading electromagnetic emanations from computing devices in order to extract data from them at distances of hundreds of meters.1617 The NSA runs a database known as “Pinwale”, which stores and indexes large numbers of emails of both American citizens and foreigners.1819


Main articles: Phone surveillance and Lawful interception

The official and unofficial tapping of telephone lines is widespread. In the United States for instance, the Communications Assistance For Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) requires that all telephone and VoIP communications be available for real-time wiretapping by Federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies.101112 Two major telecommunications companies in the U.S. AT&T Inc. and Verizon have contracts with the FBI, requiring them to keep their phone call records easily searchable and accessible for Federal agencies, in return for $1.8 million per year.20 Between 2003 and 2005, the FBI sent out more than 140,000 “National Security Letters” ordering phone companies to hand over information about their customers’ calling and Internet histories. About half of these letters requested information on U.S. citizens.21

Human agents are not required to monitor most calls. Speech-to-text software creates machine-readable text from intercepted audio, which is then processed by automated call-analysis programs, such as those developed by agencies such as the Information Awareness Office, or companies such as Verint, and Narus, which search for certain words or phrases, to decide whether to dedicate a human agent to the call.22

Law enforcement and intelligence services in the United Kingdom and the United States possess technology to activate the microphones in cell phones remotely, by accessing phones’ diagnostic or maintenance features in order to listen to conversations that take place near the person who holds the phone.232425262728

Mobile phones are also commonly used to collect location data. The geographical location of a mobile phone (and thus the person carrying it) can be determined easily even when the phone is not being used, using a technique known as multilateration to calculate the differences in time for a signal to travel from the cell phone to each of several cell towers near the owner of the phone.2930 The legality of such techniques has been questioned in the United States, in particular whether a court warrant is required.31 Records for one carrier alone (Sprint), showed that in a given year federal law enforcement agencies requested customer location data 8 million times.32

In response to customers privacy concerns in the post Edward Snowden era, Apple s iPhone 6 has been designed to disrupt investigative wiretapping efforts. The phone encrypts e-mails, contacts, and photos with a code generated by a complex mathematical algorithm that is unique to an individual phone, and is inaccessible to Apple.33 The encryption feature on the iPhone 6 has drawn criticism from FBI director James B.

Comey and other law enforcement officials since even lawful requests to access user content on the iPhone 6 will result in Apple supplying “gibberish” data that requires law enforcement personnel to either break the code themselves or to get the code from the phone s owner.33 Because the Snowden leaks demonstrated that American agencies can access phones anywhere in the world, privacy concerns in countries with growing markets for smart phones have intensified, providing a strong incentive for companies like Apple to address those concerns in order to secure their position in the global market.33

Although the CALEA requires telecommunication companies to build into their systems the ability to carry out a lawful wiretap, the law has not been updated to address the issue of smart phones and requests for access to e-mails and metadata.34 The Snowden leaks show that the NSA has been taking advantage of this ambiguity in the law by collecting metadata on “at least hundreds of millions” of “incidental” targets from around the world.34 The NSA uses an analytic tool known as CO-TRAVELLER in order to track people whose movements intersect and to find any hidden connections with persons of interest.34

The Snowden leaks have also revealed that the British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) can access information collected by the NSA on American citizens. Once the data has been collected, the GCHQ can hold on to it for up to two years. The deadline can be extended with the permission of a “senior UK official”.35


Main article: Closed-circuit television Surveillance - Wikipedia A surveillance camera in Cairns, Queensland Surveillance - Wikipedia Surveillance cameras such as these are installed by the millions in many countries, and are nowadays monitored by automated computer programs instead of humans.

Surveillance cameras are video cameras used for the purpose of observing an area. They are often connected to a recording device or IP network, and may be watched by a security guard or law enforcement officer. Cameras and recording equipment used to be relatively expensive and required human personnel to monitor camera footage, but analysis of footage has been made easier by automated software that organizes digital video footage into a searchable database, and by video analysis software (such as VIRAT and HumanID). The amount of footage is also drastically reduced by motion sensors which only record when motion is detected. With cheaper production techniques, surveillance cameras are simple and inexpensive enough to be used in home security systems, and for everyday surveillance.

In the United States, the Department of Homeland Security awards billions of dollars per year in Homeland Security grants for local, state, and federal agencies to install modern video surveillance equipment. For example, the city of Chicago, Illinois, recently used a $5.1 million Homeland Security grant to install an additional 250 surveillance cameras, and connect them to a centralized monitoring center, along with its preexisting network of over 2000 cameras, in a program known as Operation Virtual Shield. Speaking in 2009, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley announced that Chicago would have a surveillance camera on every street corner by the year 2016.3637

In the United Kingdom, the vast majority of video surveillance cameras are not operated by government bodies, but by private individuals or companies, especially to monitor the interiors of shops and businesses. According to 2011 Freedom of Information Act requests, the total number of local government operated CCTV cameras was around 52,000 over the entirety of the UK.38 The prevalence of video surveillance in the UK is often overstated due to unreliable estimates being requoted;39 for example one report in 2002 extrapolated from a very small sample to estimate the number of cameras in the UK at 4.2 million (of which 500,000 in Greater LondonNote 1).40 More reliable estimates put the number of private and local government operated cameras in the United Kingdom at around 1.85 million in 2011.4142

In the Netherlands, one example city where there are camera’s are The Hague. There, camera’s are placed in city districts in which the most illegal activity is concentrated. Examples are the red-light districts and the trainstations.43

As part of China’s Golden Shield Project, several U.S. corporations, including IBM, General Electric, and Honeywell, have been working closely with the Chinese government to install millions of surveillance cameras throughout China, along with advanced video analytics and facial recognition software, which will identify and track individuals everywhere they go. They will be connected to a centralized database and monitoring station, which will, upon completion of the project, contain a picture of the face of every person in China: over 1.3 billion people.44 Lin Jiang Huai, the head of China’s “Information Security Technology” office (which is in charge of the project), credits the surveillance systems in the United States and the U.K. as the inspiration for what he is doing with the Golden Shield project.44

Surveillance - Wikipedia A payload surveillance camera manufactured by Controp and distributed to the U.S. government by ADI Technologies

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is funding a research project called Combat Zones That See that will link up cameras across a city to a centralized monitoring station, identify and track individuals and vehicles as they move through the city, and report “suspicious” activity (such as waving arms, looking side-to-side, standing in a group, etc.).45

At Super Bowl XXXV in January 2001, police in Tampa, Florida, used Identix s facial recognition software, FaceIt, to scan the crowd for potential criminals and terrorists in attendance at the event 46 (it found 19 people with pending arrest warrants).47

Governments often48 initially claim that cameras are meant to be used for traffic control, but many of them end up using them for general surveillance. For example, Washington, D.C.

had 5,000 “traffic” cameras installed under this premise, and then after they were all in place, networked them all together and then granted access to the Metropolitan Police Department, so they could perform “day-to-day monitoring”.49

The development of centralized networks of CCTV cameras watching public areas linked to computer databases of people’s pictures and identity (biometric data), able to track people’s movements throughout the city, and identify whom they have been with has been argued by some to present a risk to civil liberties.50Trapwire is an example of such a network.51

Social network analysis

Surveillance - Wikipedia A graph of the relationships between users on the social networking site Facebook. Social network analysis enables governments to gather detailed information about peoples’ friends, family, and other contacts. Since much of this information is voluntarily made public by the users themselves, it is often consider to be a form of open-source intelligence

One common form of surveillance is to create maps of social networks based on data from social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter as well as from traffic analysis information from phone call records such as those in the NSA call database,52 and others. These social network “maps” are then data mined to extract useful information such as personal interests, friendships & affiliations, wants, beliefs, thoughts, and activities.535455

Many U.S. government agencies such as the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the National Security Agency (NSA), and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are investing heavily in research involving social network analysis.5657 The intelligence community believes that the biggest threat to U.S. power comes from decentralized, leaderless, geographically dispersed groups of terrorists, subversives, extremists, and dissidents. These types of threats are most easily countered by finding important nodes in the network, and removing them. To do this requires a detailed map of the network.585960

Jason Ethier of Northeastern University, in his study of modern social network analysis, said the following of the Scalable Social Network Analysis Program developed by the Information Awareness Office:

The purpose of the SSNA algorithms program is to extend techniques of social network analysis to assist with distinguishing potential terrorist cells from legitimate groups of people…. In order to be successful SSNA will require information on the social interactions of the majority of people around the globe. Since the Defense Department cannot easily distinguish between peaceful citizens and terrorists, it will be necessary for them to gather data on innocent civilians as well as on potential terrorists.

Jason Ethier58

AT&T developed a programming language called “Hancock”, which is able to sift through enormous databases of phone call and Internet traffic records, such as the NSA call database, and extract “communities of interest” groups of people who call each other regularly, or groups that regularly visit certain sites on the Internet. AT&T originally built the system to develop “marketing leads”,61 but the FBI has regularly requested such information from phone companies such as AT&T without a warrant,61 and after using the data stores all information received in its own databases, regardless of whether or not the information was ever useful in an investigation.62

Some people believe that the use of social networking sites is a form of “participatory surveillance”, where users of these sites are essentially performing surveillance on themselves, putting detailed personal information on public websites where it can be viewed by corporations and governments.53 In 2008, about 20% of employers reported using social networking sites to collect personal data on prospective or current employees.63


Surveillance - Wikipedia Fingerprints being scanned as part of the US-VISIT program Main article: Biometrics

Biometric surveillance is a technology that measures and analyzes human physical and/or behavioral characteristics for authentication, identification, or screening purposes.64 Examples of physical characteristics include fingerprints, DNA, and facial patterns. Examples of mostly behavioral characteristics include gait (a person’s manner of walking) or voice.

Facial recognition is the use of the unique configuration of a person’s facial features to accurately identify them, usually from surveillance video. Both the Department of Homeland Security and DARPA are heavily funding research into facial recognition systems.65 The Information Processing Technology Office, ran a program known as Human Identification at a Distance which developed technologies that are capable of identifying a person at up to 500 ft by their facial features. Another form of behavioral biometrics, based on affective computing, involves computers recognizing a person’s emotional state based on an analysis of their facial expressions, how fast they are talking, the tone and pitch of their voice, their posture, and other behavioral traits.

This might be used for instance to see if a person’s behavior is suspect (looking around furtively, “tense” or “angry” facial expressions, waving arms, etc.).66

A more recent development is DNA profiling, which looks at some of the major markers in the body’s DNA to produce a match. The FBI is spending $1 billion to build a new biometric database, which will store DNA, facial recognition data, iris/retina (eye) data, fingerprints, palm prints, and other biometric data of people living in the United States. The computers running the database are contained in an underground facility about the size of two American football fields.676869

The Los Angeles Police Department is installing automated facial recognition and license plate recognition devices in its squad cars, and providing handheld face scanners, which officers will use to identify people while on patrol.707172

Facial thermographs are in development, which allow machines to identify certain emotions in people such as fear or stress, by measuring the temperature generated by blood flow to different parts of their face.73 Law enforcement officers believe that this has potential for them to identify when a suspect is nervous, which might indicate that they are hiding something, lying, or worried about something.73


Further information: Surveillance aircraft Surveillance - Wikipedia Micro Air Vehicle with attached surveillance camera

Aerial surveillance is the gathering of surveillance, usually visual imagery or video, from an airborne vehicle such as an unmanned aerial vehicle, helicopter, or spy plane. Military surveillance aircraft use a range of sensors (e.g. radar) to monitor the battlefield. Digital imaging technology, miniaturized computers, and numerous other technological advances over the past decade have contributed to rapid advances in aerial surveillance hardware such as micro-aerial vehicles, forward-looking infrared, and high-resolution imagery capable of identifying objects at extremely long distances. For instance, the MQ-9 Reaper,74 a U.S.

drone plane used for domestic operations by the Department of Homeland Security, carries cameras that are capable of identifying an object the size of a milk carton from altitudes of 60,000 feet, and has forward-looking infrared devices that can detect the heat from a human body at distances of up to 60 kilometers.75 In an earlier instance of commercial aerial surveillance, the Killington Mountain ski resort hired ‘eye in the sky’ aerial photography of its competitors’ parking lots to judge the success of its marketing initiatives as it developed starting in the 1950s.76

Surveillance - Wikipedia HART program concept drawing from official IPTO (DARPA) official website

The United States Department of Homeland Security is in the process of testing UAVs to patrol the skies over the United States for the purposes of critical infrastructure protection, border patrol, “transit monitoring”, and general surveillance of the U.S. population.77 Miami-Dade police department ran tests with a vertical take-off and landing UAV from Honeywell, which is planned to be used in SWAT operations.78 Houston’s police department has been testing fixed-wing UAVs for use in “traffic control”.78

The United Kingdom, as well, is working on plans to build up a fleet of surveillance UAVs ranging from micro-aerial vehicles to full-size drones, to be used by police forces throughout the U.K.79

In addition to their surveillance capabilities, MAVs are capable of carrying tasers for “crowd control“, or weapons for killing enemy combatants.80

Programs such as the Heterogeneous Aerial Reconnaissance Team program developed by DARPA have automated much of the aerial surveillance process. They have developed systems consisting of large teams drone planes that pilot themselves, automatically decide who is “suspicious” and how to go about monitoring them, coordinate their activities with other drones nearby, and notify human operators if something suspicious is occurring. This greatly increases the amount of area that can be continuously monitored, while reducing the number of human operators required. Thus a swarm of automated, self-directing drones can automatically patrol a city and track suspicious individuals, reporting their activities back to a centralized monitoring station.818283 In addition, researchers also investigate possibilities of autonomous surveillance by large groups of micro aerial vehicles stabilized by decentralized bio-inspired swarming rules.8485

Data mining and profiling

Data mining is the application of statistical techniques and programmatic algorithms to discover previously unnoticed relationships within the data. Data profiling in this context is the process of assembling information about a particular individual or group in order to generate a profile that is, a picture of their patterns and behavior. Data profiling can be an extremely powerful tool for psychological and social network analysis. A skilled analyst can discover facts about a person that they might not even be consciously aware of themselves.86

Economic (such as credit card purchases) and social (such as telephone calls and emails) transactions in modern society create large amounts of stored data and records. In the past, this data was documented in paper records, leaving a “paper trail“, or was simply not documented at all. Correlation of paper-based records was a laborious process it required human intelligence operators to manually dig through documents, which was time-consuming and incomplete, at best.

But today many of these records are electronic, resulting in an “electronic trail”. Every use of a bank machine, payment by credit card, use of a phone card, call from home, checked out library book, rented video, or otherwise complete recorded transaction generates an electronic record. Public records such as birth, court, tax and other records are increasily being digitized and made available online. In addition, due to laws like CALEA, web traffic and online purchases are also available for profiling. Electronic record-keeping makes data easily collectable, storable, and accessible so that high-volume, efficient aggregation and analysis is possible at significantly lower costs.

Information relating to many of these individual transactions is often easily available because it is generally not guarded in isolation, since the information, such as the title of a movie a person has rented, might not seem sensitive. However, when many such transactions are aggregated they can be used to assemble a detailed profile revealing the actions, habits, beliefs, locations frequented, social connections, and preferences of the individual. This profile is then used, by programs such as ADVISE 87 and TALON, to determine whether the person is a military, criminal, or political threat. In addition to its own aggregation and profiling tools, the government is able to access information from third parties for example, banks, credit companies or employers, etc. by requesting access informally, by compelling access through the use of subpoenas or other procedures,88 or by purchasing data from commercial data aggregators or data brokers. The United States has spent $370 million on its 43 planned fusion centers, which are national network of surveillance centers that are located in over 30 states. The centers will collect and analyze vast amounts of data on U.S.

citizens. It will get this data by consolidating personal information from sources such as state driver’s licensing agencies, hospital records, criminal records, school records, credit bureaus, banks, etc. — and placing this information in a centralized database that can be accessed from all of the centers, as well as other federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies.89

Under United States v. Miller (1976), data held by third parties is generally not subject to Fourth Amendment warrant requirements.


Corporate surveillance is the monitoring of a person or group’s behavior by a corporation. The data collected is most often used for marketing purposes or sold to other corporations, but is also regularly shared with government agencies. It can be used as a form of business intelligence, which enables the corporation to better tailor their products and/or services to be desirable by their customers. Or the data can be sold to other corporations, so that they can use it for the aforementioned purpose. Or it can be used for direct marketing purposes, such as the targeted advertisements on Google and Yahoo, where ads are targeted to the user of the search engine by analyzing their search history and emails90 (if they use free webmail services), which is kept in a database.91

For instance, Google, the world’s most popular search engine, stores identifying information for each web search. An IP address and the search phrase used are stored in a database for up to 18 months.92 Google also scans the content of emails of users of its Gmail webmail service, in order to create targeted advertising based on what people are talking about in their personal email correspondences.93 Google is, by far, the largest Internet advertising agency millions of sites place Google’s advertising banners and links on their websites, in order to earn money from visitors who click on the ads. Each page containing Google advertisements adds, reads, and modifies “cookies” on each visitor’s computer.94 These cookies track the user across all of these sites, and gather information about their web surfing habits, keeping track of which sites they visit, and what they do when they are on these sites.

This information, along with the information from their email accounts, and search engine histories, is stored by Google to use for building a profile of the user to deliver better-targeted advertising.93

According to the American Management Association and the ePolicy Institute that undertake an annual quantitative survey about electronic monitoring and surveillance with approximately 300 U.S. companies, “more than one fourth of employers have fired workers for misusing e-mail and nearly one third have fired employees for misusing the Internet”.95 More than 40% of the companies monitor e-mail traffic of their workers, and 66% of corporations monitor Internet connections. In addition, most companies use software to block non-work related websites such as sexual or pornographic sites, game sites, social networking sites, entertainment sites, shopping sites, and sport sites. The American Management Association and the ePolicy Institute also stress that companies “tracking content, keystrokes, and time spent at the keyboard … store and review computer files … monitor the blogosphere to see what is being written about the company, and … monitor social networking sites”.95 Furthermore, about 30% of the companies had also fired employees for non-work related email and Internet usage such as “inappropriate or offensive language” and “viewing, downloading, or uploading inappropriate/offensive content”.9596

The United States government often gains access to these databases, either by producing a warrant for it, or by simply asking. The Department of Homeland Security has openly stated that it uses data collected from consumer credit and direct marketing agencies such as Google for augmenting the profiles of individuals whom it is monitoring.97 The FBI, Department of Homeland Security, and other intelligence agencies have formed an “information-sharing” partnership with over 34,000 corporations as part of their Infragard program.

The U.S. Federal government has gathered information from grocery store “discount card” programs, which track customers’ shopping patterns and store them in databases, in order to look for “terrorists” by analyzing shoppers’ buying patterns.98

Human operatives

Organizations that have enemies who wish to gather information about the groups’ members or activities face the issue of infiltration.99100

In addition to operatives’ infiltrating an organization, the surveilling party may exert pressure on certain members of the target organization to act as informants (i.e., to disclose the information they hold on the organization and its members).101102

Fielding operatives is very expensive, and for governments with wide-reaching electronic surveillance tools at their disposal the information recovered from operatives can often be obtained from less problematic forms of surveillance such as those mentioned above. Nevertheless, human infiltrators are still common today. For instance, in 2007 documents surfaced showing that the FBI was planning to field a total of 15,000 undercover agents and informants in response to an anti-terrorism directive sent out by George W. Bush in 2004 that ordered intelligence and law enforcement agencies to increase their HUMINT capabilities.103

Satellite imagery

Main article: Reconnaissance satellite

On May 25, 2007 the U.S. Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell authorized the National Applications Office (NAO) of the Department of Homeland Security to allow local, state, and domestic Federal agencies to access imagery from military intelligence Reconnaissance satellites and Reconnaissance aircraft sensors which can now be used to observe the activities of U.S. citizens. The satellites and aircraft sensors will be able to penetrate cloud cover, detect chemical traces, and identify objects in buildings and “underground bunkers”, and will provide real-time video at much higher resolutions than the still-images produced by programs such as Google Earth.104105106107108109

Identification and credentials

Surveillance - Wikipedia A card containing an identification number

One of the simplest forms of identification is the carrying of credentials. Some nations have an identity card system to aid identification, whilst others are considering it but face public opposition.

Other documents, such as passports, driver’s licenses, library cards, banking or credit cards are also used to verify identity. If the form of the identity card is “machine-readable”, usually using an encoded magnetic stripe or identification number (such as a Social Security number), it corroborates the subject’s identifying data. In this case it may create an electronic trail when it is checked and scanned, which can be used in profiling, as mentioned above.

RFID and geolocation devices

Surveillance - Wikipedia Hand with planned insertion point for Verichip device

RFID tagging

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tagging is the use of very small electronic devices (called “RFID tags”) which are applied to or incorporated into a product, animal, or person for the purpose of identification and tracking using radio waves. The tags can be read from several meters away. They are extremely inexpensive, costing a few cents per piece, so they can be inserted into many types of everyday products without significantly increasing the price, and can be used to track and identify these objects for a variety of purposes.

Some companies appear to be “tagging” their workers by incorporating RFID tags in employee ID badges. Workers in U.K. considered strike action in protest of having themselves tagged; they felt that it was dehumanizing to have all of their movements tracked with RFID chips.110 Some critics have expressed fears that people will soon be tracked and scanned everywhere they go.111 On the other hand, RFID tags in newborn baby ID bracelets put on by hospitals have foiled kidnappings.110

Surveillance - Wikipedia RFID chip pulled from new credit card

Verichip is an RFID device produced by a company called Applied Digital Solutions (ADS). Verichip is slightly larger than a grain of rice, and is injected under the skin. The injection reportedly feels similar to receiving a shot. The chip is encased in glass, and stores a “VeriChip Subscriber Number” which the scanner uses to access their personal information, via the Internet, from Verichip Inc.’s database, the “Global VeriChip Subscriber Registry”. Thousands of people have already had them inserted.111 In Mexico, for example, 160 workers at the Attorney General’s office were required to have the chip injected for identity verification and access control purposes.112113

In a 2003 editorial, CNET’s chief political correspondent, Declan McCullagh, speculated that, soon, every object that is purchased, and perhaps ID cards, will have RFID devices in them, which would respond with information about people as they walk past scanners (what type of phone they have, what type of shoes they have on, which books they are carrying, what credit cards or membership cards they have, etc.). This information could be used for identification, tracking, or targeted marketing. As of 2012, this has largely not come to pass.114

Global Positioning System

Surveillance - Wikipedia Diagram of GPS satellites orbiting Earth See also: GPS tracking

In the U.S., police have planted hidden GPS tracking devices in people’s vehicles to monitor their movements, without a warrant.

In early 2009, they were arguing in court that they have the right to do this.115

Several cities are running pilot projects to require parolees to wear GPS devices to track their movements when they get out of prison.116

Mobile phones

Mobile phones are also commonly used to collect geolocation data. The geographical location of a mobile phone (and thus the person carrying it) can be determined easily (whether it is being used or not), using a technique known multilateration to calculate the differences in time for a signal to travel from the cell phone to each of several cell towers near the owner of the phone.2930 Dr. Victor Kappeler117 of Eastern Kentucky University indicates that police surveillance is a strong concern, stating the following statistics from 2013:

Of the 321,545 law enforcement requests made to Verizon, 54,200 of these requests were for “content” or “location” information not just cell phone numbers or IP addresses. Content information included the actual text of messages, emails and the wiretapping of voice or messaging content in real-time. A comparatively new off-the-shelf surveillance device is an IMSI-catcher, an telephone eavesdropping device used to intercept mobile phone traffic and track the movement of mobile phone users. Essentially a “fake” mobile tower acting between the target mobile phone and the service provider’s real towers, it is considered a man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack. IMSI-catchers are used in some countries by law enforcement and intelligence agencies, but their use has raised significant civil liberty and privacy concerns and is strictly regulated in some countries.118

Human Microchips

Main article: Microchip implant (human)

A human microchip implant is an identifying integrated circuit device or RFID transponder encased in silicate glass and implanted in the body of a human being.

A subdermal implant typically contains a unique ID number that can be linked to information contained in an external database, such as personal identification, medical history, medications, allergies, and contact information. Several types of microchips have been developed in order to control and monitor certain types of people, such as criminals, political figures and spies, a “killer” tracking chip patent was filed at the German Patent and Trademark Office(DPMA) around May 2009.


See also: United States v. Spy Factory, Inc.

Covert listening devices and video devices, or “bugs”, are hidden electronic devices which are used to capture, record, and/or transmit data to a receiving party such as a law enforcement agency. The U.S.

has run numerous domestic intelligence operations, such as COINTELPRO, which have bugged the homes, offices, and vehicles of thousands of U.S. citizens, usually political activists, subversives, and criminals.119

Law enforcement and intelligence services in the U.K. and the United States possess technology to remotely activate the microphones in cell phones, by accessing the phone’s diagnostic/maintenance features, in order to listen to conversations that take place nearby the person who holds the phone.242526

Postal services

As more people use faxes and e-mail the significance of surveilling the postal system is decreasing, in favor of Internet and telephone surveillance. But interception of post is still an available option for law enforcement and intelligence agencies, in certain circumstances. This is not a common practice, however, and entities like the US Army require high levels of approval to conduct.120

The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation have performed twelve separate mail-opening campaigns targeted towards U.S. citizens. In one of these programs, more than 215,000 communications were intercepted, opened, and photographed.121122


“Stakeout” redirects here. For other uses, see Stakeout (disambiguation).

A stakeout is the coordinated surveillance of a location or person. Stakeouts are generally performed covertly and for the purpose of gathering evidence related to criminal activity.

The term derives from the practice by land surveyors of using survey stakes to measure out an area before the main building project is commenced.


Surveillance - Wikipedia Graffiti expressing concern about proliferation of video surveillance


Supporters of surveillance systems believe that these tools can help protect society from terrorists and criminals. They argue that surveillance can reduce crime by three means: by deterrence, by observation, and by reconstruction. Surveillance can deter by increasing the chance of being caught, and by revealing the modus operandi. This requires a minimal level of invasiveness.123

Another method on how surveillance can be used to fight criminal activity is by linking the information stream obtained from them to a recognition system (for instance, a camera system that has its feed run trough a facial recognition system). This can for instance auto-recognize fugitives and direct police to their location. A distinction here has to be made however on the type of surveillance employed. Some people that say support video surveillance in city streets may not support indiscriminate telephone taps and vice versa.

Besides the types, the way in how this surveillance is done also matters a lot; i.e. indiscriminate telephone taps are supported by much fewer people than say telephone taps only done to people suspected of engaging in illegal activities. Surveillance can also be used to give human operatives a tactical advantage through improved situational awareness, or through the use of automated processes, i.e. video analytics. Surveillance can help reconstruct an incident and prove guilt through the availability of footage for forensics experts. Surveillance can also influence subjective security if surveillance resources are visible or if the consequences of surveillance can be felt.

Some of the surveillance systems (such as the camera system that has its feed run through a facial recognition system mentioned above) can also have other uses besides countering criminal activity. For instance, it can help on retrieving runaway children, abducted or missing adults, mentally disabled people, … Other supporters simply believe that there is nothing that can be done about the loss of privacy, and that people must become accustomed to having no privacy. As Sun Microsystems CEO Scott McNealy said: “You have zero privacy anyway. Get over it.”124125

Another common argument is: “If you aren’t doing something wrong then you don’t have anything to fear.” Which follows that if one is engaging in unlawful activities, in which case they do not have a legitimate justification for their privacy. However, if they are following the law the surveillance would not affect them.126


Surveillance - Wikipedia An elaborate graffito in Columbus, Ohio, depicting state surveillance of telecommunications

With the advent of programs such as the Total Information Awareness program and ADVISE, technologies such as high speed surveillance computers and biometrics software, and laws such as the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, governments now possess an unprecedented ability to monitor the activities of their subjects.127 Many civil rights and privacy groups, such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation and American Civil Liberties Union, have expressed concern that by allowing continual increases in government surveillance of citizens we will end up in a mass surveillance society, with extremely limited, or non-existent political and/or personal freedoms. Fears such as this have led to numerous lawsuits such as Hepting v. AT&T.127128

Some critics state that the claim made by supporters should be modified to read: “As long as we do what we’re told, we have nothing to fear.”. For instance, a person who is part of a political group which opposes the policies of the national government, might not want the government to know their names and what they have been reading, so that the government cannot easily subvert their organization, arrest, or kill them.

Other critics state that while a person might not have anything to hide right now, the government might later implement policies that they do wish to oppose, and that opposition might then be impossible due to mass surveillance enabling the government to identify and remove political threats. Further, other critics point to the fact that most people do have things to hide. For example, if a person is looking for a new job, they might not want their current employer to know this. Also if an employer wishes total privacy to watch over their own employee and secure their financial information it may become impossible, and they may not wish to hire those under surveillance. The most concern of detriment is securing the lives of those who live under total surveillance willingly, educating the public to those under peaceful watch while identifying terrorist and those who use the same surveillance systems and mechanisms in opposition to peace, against civilians, and to disclose lives removed from the laws of the land. In addition, a significant risk of private data collection stems from the fact that this risk is too much unknown to be readily assessed today. Storage is cheap enough to have data stored forever, and the models using which it will be analyzed in a decade from now cannot reasonably be foreseen.129


Surveillance - Wikipedia A traffic camera atop a high pole oversees a road in the Canadian city of Toronto.

Programs such as the Total Information Awareness program, and laws such as the Communications Assistance For Law Enforcement Act have led many groups to fear that society is moving towards a state of mass surveillance with severely limited personal, social, political freedoms, where dissenting individuals or groups will be strategically removed in COINTELPRO-like purges.127128

Kate Martin, of the Center For National Security Studies said of the use of military spy satellites being used to monitor the activities of U.S.

citizens: “They are laying the bricks one at a time for a police state.”108

Some point to the blurring of lines between public and private places, and the privatization of places traditionally seen as public (such as shopping malls and industrial parks) as illustrating the increasing legality of collecting personal information.130 Traveling through many public places such as government offices is hardly optional for most people, yet consumers have little choice but to submit to companies’ surveillance practices.131 Surveillance techniques are not created equal; among the many biometric identification technologies, for instance, face recognition requires the least cooperation. Unlike automatic fingerprint reading, which requires an individual to press a finger against a machine, this technique is subtle and requires little to no consent.131

Psychological/social effects

Some critics, such as Michel Foucault, believe that in addition to its obvious function of identifying and capturing individuals who are committing undesirable acts, surveillance also functions to create in everyone a feeling of always being watched, so that they become self-policing. This allows the State to control the populace without having to resort to physical force, which is expensive and otherwise problematic.132

The concept of panopticism is a means of indirect control over a large populous through the uncertainty of surveillance. Michel Foucault analyzed the architecture of the prison panopticon, and realized that its success was not just in its ability to monitor but also its ability to not monitor without anyone knowing.133 Critics such as Derrick Jensen and George Draffan, argue that panopticism in the United States began in World War I when the issuing of passports became important for the tracking of citizens and possibly enemies of the state. Such surveillance continues today through government agencies in the form of tracking internet usage and library usage.134

Psychologists have shown that merely giving people the “illusion” of being observed can produce significant voluntary changes in a range of pro-social behaviors.135 For example, studies have shown that people donate more, litter less, and are more likely to come out to vote in local elections when they think that they are being watched.136


Numerous civil rights groups and privacy groups oppose surveillance as a violation of people’s right to privacy. Such groups include: Electronic Privacy Information Center, Electronic Frontier Foundation, American Civil Liberties Union

There have been several lawsuits such as Hepting v. AT&T and EPIC v. Department of Justice by groups or individuals, opposing certain surveillance activities.

Legislative proceedings such as those that took place during the Church Committee, which investigated domestic intelligence programs such as COINTELPRO, have also weighed the pros and cons of surveillance.

Counter-surveillance, inverse surveillance, sousveillance

Countersurveillance is the practice of avoiding surveillance or making surveillance difficult. Developments in the late twentieth century have caused counter surveillance to dramatically grow in both scope and complexity, such as the Internet, increasing prevalence of electronic security systems, high-altitude (and possibly armed) UAVs, and large corporate and government computer databases.137

Inverse surveillance is the practice of the reversal of surveillance on other individuals or groups (e.g., citizens photographing police). Well-known examples are George Holliday‘s recording of the Rodney King beating and the organization Copwatch, which attempts to monitor police officers to prevent police brutality. Counter-surveillance can be also used in applications to prevent corporate spying, or to track other criminals by certain criminal entities. It can also be used to deter stalking methods used by various entities and organizations.

Sousveillance is inverse surveillance, involving the recording by private individuals, rather than government or corporate entities.138

Dark Sousveillance

In Simone Browne s text, Dark Matters, she is concerned with the relationship between blackness and surveillance, and how an understanding of the ontological conditions of blackness is integral to developing a general theory of surveillance and, in particular, racializing surveillance when enactments of surveillance reify boundaries along racial lines, thereby reifying race, and where the outcome of this is often discriminatory and violent treatment .139 Browne cites Davis Lyon saying, resistance may not be liberatory indeed, it invites further control (40-41). Further, Browne situates dark sousveillance as an imaginative place from which to mobilize a critique of racializing surveillance Dark sousveillance is a site of critique, as it speaks to black epistemologies of contending with antiblack surveillance, where the tools of social control in plantation surveillance, or lantern laws in city spaces and beyond were appropriated, co-opted, repurposed, and challenged in order to facilitate survival and escape (21).

Popular culture

In literature

  • George Orwell‘s novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four, portrays a fictional totalitarian surveillance society with a very simple (by today’s standards) mass surveillance system consisting of human operatives, informants, and two-way “telescreens” in people’s homes. Because of the impact of this book, mass-surveillance technologies are commonly called “Orwellian” when they are considered problematic.
  • The novel – mistrust highlights the negative effects from the overuse of surveillance at Reflection House. The central character Kerryn installs secret cameras to monitor her housemates – see also Paranoia
  • The book The Handmaid’s Tale, as well as a film based on it, portray a totalitarian Christian theocracy where all citizens are kept under constant surveillance.
  • In the book The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Lisbeth Salander uses computers to dig out information on people, as well as other common surveillance methods, as a freelancer.

In music


Main article: List of films featuring surveillance

See also

United States government


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Further reading

  • Allmer, Thomas (2012). “Towards a Critical Theory of Surveillance in Informational Capitalism”. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang. ISBN 978-3-631-63220-8
  • Feldman, Jay. (2011). Manufacturing Hysteria: A History of Scapegoating, Surveillance, and Secrecy in Modern America. New York, NY: Pantheon Books. ISBN 0-375-42534-9
  • Fuchs, Christian, Kees Boersma, Anders Albrechtslund, and Marisol Sandoval, eds. (2012). “Internet and Surveillance: The Challenges of Web 2.0 and Social Media”. New York: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-89160-8
  • Garfinkel, Simson, Database Nation; The Death of Privacy in the 21st Century. O’Reilly & Associates, Inc. ISBN 0-596-00105-3
  • Gilliom, John Overseers of the Poor: Surveillance, Resistance, and the Limits of Privacy, University Of Chicago Press, ISBN 978-0-226-29361-5
  • Haque, Akhlaque. (2015). Surveillance, Transparency and Democracy: Public Administration in the Information Age.

    University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa, AL. ISBN 978-0-8173-1877-2

  • Harris, Shane. (2011). The Watchers: The Rise of America’s Surveillance State. London, UK: Penguin Books Ltd. ISBN 0-14-311890-0
  • Hier, Sean P., & Greenberg, Joshua (Eds.). (2009). Surveillance: Power, Problems, and Politics. Vancouver, CA: UBC Press. ISBN 0-7748-1611-2
  • Jenkins, Peter Advanced Surveillance Training Manual, Intel Publishing, UK ISBN 0-9535378-1-1
  • Jenkins, Peter Surveillance Tradecraft, Intel Publishing, UK ISBN 978-0-9535378-2-2
  • Jensen, Derrick and Draffan, George (2004) Welcome to the Machine: Science, Surveillance, and the Culture of Control Chelsea Green Publishing Company. ISBN 978-1-931498-52-4
  • Laidler, Keith. (2008). Surveillance Unlimited: How We’ve Become the Most Watched People on Earth. Cambridge, AU: Icon Books Ltd. ISBN 978-1-84046-877-9
  • Lyon, David (2001). Surveillance Society: Monitoring in Everyday Life. Philadelphia: Open University Press. ISBN 978-0-335-20546-2
  • Lyon, David (Ed.). (2006). Theorizing Surveillance: The Panopticon and Beyond. Cullompton, UK: Willan Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84392-191-2
  • Lyon, David (2007) Surveillance Studies: An Overview. Cambridge: Polity Press. ISBN 978-0-7456-3591-0
  • Matteralt, Armand. (2010). The Globalization of Surveillance. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press. ISBN 0-7456-4511-9
  • Parenti, Christian The Soft Cage: Surveillance in America From Slavery to the War on Terror, Basic Books, ISBN 978-0-465-05485-5
  • Petersen, J.K. (2012) Handbook of Surveillance Technologies, Third Edition, Taylor & Francis: CRC Press, 1020 pp., ISBN 978-1-439873-15-1
  • Petersen, J.K. (2012) Introduction to Surveillance Studies, Taylor & Francis: CRC Press, 416 pp., ISBN 978-1-466555-09-9
  • Staples, William G. (2000). Everyday Surveillance: Vigilance and Visibility in Post-Modern Life. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. ISBN 0-7425-0077-2

Surveillance - Wikipedia Look up surveillance in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. Surveillance - Wikipedia Wikiquote has quotations related to: Surveillance

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