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Overview of Surveillance

Surveillance involves using means to monitor a person's actions and interactions. Main areas of surveillance include electronic surveillance and computer surveillance.

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Surveillance Legislation

Key surveillance legislation includes the Wire and Electronic Communications Interception and Interception of Oral Communications Act, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, Electronic Communications Privacy Act,the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, U.S. Patriot Act and REAL ID Act.

Development of Surveillance Laws

Traditionally, electronic surveillance regulated common forms of wiretapping -- any interception of a telephone transmission by accessing the telephone signal directly. However, as technology advances innovations such as social media and telephony challenge the efficacy of traditional surveillance legislation. Now, electronic surveillance incorporates various forms of technology including: cell phones, cell towers, pen traps and traces, mobile tracking devices, GPS, RFID and more. These devices enable more precise electronic monitoring while challenging traditional notions of privacy.


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