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Surveillance is the process of monitoring behavior, activities or information for protecting people. It includes observation from a distance through electronic equipment or interception of information. In this case, information may refer to internet traffic, phone calls, or postal mail. Surveillance is used for a variety of reasons that include gathering intelligence, preventing crime, protection of a person, group, object or the investigation of a crime.

Surveillance systems are the devices used for the purpose of surveillance; these are divided into different types depending on their purpose. Listed below are a few types of surveillance systems


Surveillance cameras are video cameras used for observing an area; it is connected to a recording device, which may have a physical storage, or a cloud based storage system. Due to cheaper production techniques, surveillance cameras are simple and inexpensive enough to be used in home security systems and for everyday surveillance. The analysis of the captured footage is made easier by automated software that organizes digital footage into searchable databases.


Biometric surveillance is a technology that measures and analyzes human physical and behavioral characteristics for authentication and identification. Physical features of a person include facial features, fingerprints, DNA, retina and palm prints. The details of a person’s unique identification traits are stored in databases for use in identification and authentication.

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and geolocation devices

RFID tagging is applying or incorporating small electronic devices into a product, animal or person for the purpose of identification and tracking using radio signals. The electronic devices are inexpensive and can be tracked from several meters away.

Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking is done through a device that tracks its precise location and the recorded location data can be stored or transmitted to a central location database. The data allows the location of the carrier to be displayed in a map in real time. Smart phones and computers also use GPS technology and the user can be tracked easily.

While surveillance systems can help protect society from terrorists and criminals there are drawbacks that has led to opposition from a section of the public. The introduction of new technology and laws regarding surveillance has people fearing the rise of a totalitarian rule, where people no longer have privacy.     


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