Internet surveillance is the monitoring of the online behavior, activities, or other changing information, usually of people and often in a surreptitious manner. It most refers to the observation of individuals or groups by governmental organizations.
Surveillance may refer to observation from a distance by means of electronic equipment (such as CCTV cameras), or interception of electronically transmitted information (such as Internet traffic or phone calls). It may also refer to simple, relatively no- or low-technology methods such as human intelligence agents and postal interception.
Surveillance is very useful to governments and law enforcement to maintain social control, recognize and monitor threats, and prevent/investigate criminal activity. With the advent of programs such as the Total Information Awareness program and ADVISE, technologies such as high-speed surveillance computers and biometric software, and laws such as the Communications Assistance For Law Enforcement Act (CALEA), governments now possess an unprecedented ability to monitor the activities of their subjects.
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