Surveillance system

The vast majority of computer surveillance involves the monitoring of data and traffic on the Internet.[8] 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 realtime monitoring by federal law enforcement agencies. Surveillance systemThere is far too much data on the Internet for human investigators to manually search through all of it. Therefore, automated Internet surveillance computers sift through the vast amount of intercepted Internet traffic to identify and report to human investigators the traffic that is considered interesting or suspicious.

This process is regulated by targeting certain “trigger” words or phrases, visiting certain types of web sites, or communicating via email or online chat with suspicious individuals or groups.[12]

Billions of dollars per year are spent by agencies, such as the NSA, the FBI and the nowdefunct Information Awareness Office, to develop, purchase, implement, and operate systems such as Carnivore, NarusInsight, and ECHELON to intercept and analyze all of this data to extract only the information which is useful to law enforcement and intelligence agencies.[13]

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 can be installed physically or remotely. [14]

Another form of computer surveillance, known as Van Eck phreaking, reads electromagnetic radiation from computing devices and extracts data hundreds of meters away. [15] [16] The NSA operates a database called “Pinwale” that stores and indexes a large number of emails from both American citizens and foreigners. [17] [18]

In addition, the NSA operates a program called PRISM. This is a data mining system that gives the US government direct access to information held by technology companies. By accessing this information, governments can view search history, email, stored information, live chat, file transfers, and more. This program has sparked many surveillance and privacy disputes, especially from US citizens. Continue reading …


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