Mass surveillance

surveillance statesurveillance societysurveillancemasssurveillance programeavesdropping centreelectronic police statesurveillance societiesabout citizensBig Brother
Mass surveillance is the intricate surveillance of an entire or a substantial fraction of a population in order to monitor that group of citizens.wikipedia
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Targeted surveillance

targetedselectively wiretapsurveillance
It is also often distinguished from targeted surveillance.
Targeted surveillance (or targeted interception) is a form of surveillance, such as wiretapping, that is directed towards specific persons of interest, and is distinguishable from mass surveillance (or bulk interception).


totalitariantotalitarian statetotalitarian regime
It is the single most indicative distinguishing trait of totalitarian regimes.
Totalitarian regimes are often characterized by extensive political repression, a complete lack of democracy, widespread personality cultism, absolute control over the economy, restriction of speech, mass surveillance, and widespread use of state terrorism.

Right to privacy

invasion of privacyprivacy rightsright of privacy
Reporting based on documents Snowden leaked to various media outlets triggered a debate about civil liberties and the right to privacy in the Digital Age.
Government agencies, such as the NSA, CIA, R&AW and GCHQ, have engaged in mass, global surveillance.

National Security Agency

NSAArmed Forces Security AgencyNational Computer Security Center
The surveillance is often carried out by local and federal governments or governmental organisations, such as organizations like the NSA and the FBI, but it may also be carried out by corporations (either on behalf of governments or at their own initiative). Billions of dollars per year are spent, by agencies such as the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), to develop, purchase, implement, and operate systems such as Carnivore, ECHELON, and NarusInsight to intercept and analyze the immense amount of data that traverses the Internet and telephone system every day.
The NSA currently conducts worldwide mass data collection and has been known to physically bug electronic systems as one method to this end.

American Civil Liberties Union

ACLUAmerican Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)ACLU Foundation
For example, in September 2007 the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) stated that we are "in danger of tipping into a genuine surveillance society completely alien to American values" with "the potential for a dark future where our every move, our every transaction, our every communication is recorded, compiled, and stored away, ready to be examined and used against us by the authorities whenever they want."


meta datameta-datacommunications metadata
Singapore's surveillance structure spreads widely from Closed-circuit television in public areas even around the neighbourhood, internet monitoring/ traffic monitoring and to the use of surveillance metadata for government initiatives.
This data is used for the purposes of traffic analysis and can be used for mass surveillance.

National security

state securitynational defensesecurity
Mass surveillance has often been cited as necessary to fight terrorism, prevent crime and social unrest, protect national security, and control the population.
For example, the rights and liberties of citizens are affected by the use of military personnel and militarised police forces to control public behaviour; the use of surveillance, including mass surveillance in cyberspace, which has implications for privacy; military recruitment and conscription practices; and the effects of warfare on civilians and civil infrastructure.


electronic surveillancestakeoutmonitoring
Mass surveillance is the intricate surveillance of an entire or a substantial fraction of a population in order to monitor that group of citizens.
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.


Undertaken under the Seventh Framework Programme for research and technological development (FP7 - Science in Society ) some multidisciplinary and mission oriented mass surveillance activities (for example INDECT and HIDE) were funded by the European Commission in association with industrial partners.


Unique Identification Authority of IndiaAadharUIDAI
With a UID from the Unique Identification Authority of India being given to every Indian from February 2011, the government would be able track people in real time.
Tathagata Satpathy of Biju Janata Dal (BJD) raised concerns that the project could be used for mass surveillance or ethnic cleansing in the future.

Investigatory Powers Act 2016

Investigatory Powers BillInvestigatory Powers ActInvestigatory Powers Commissioner
This was superseded by the Investigatory Powers Act 2016, a comprehensive statute which made public a number of previously secret powers (equipment interference, bulk retention of metadata, intelligence agency use of bulk personal datasets), and enables the Government to require internet service providers and mobile phone companies to maintain records of (but not the content of) customers' Internet connections for 12 months.
Like the 2014-15 reports of the PCLOB and National Academy of Sciences in the USA, it is a significant information source for the utility of so-called mass surveillance techniques

Hemisphere Project

In 2013, the existence of the Hemisphere Project, through which AT&T provides telephone call data to federal agencies, became publicly known.
The Hemisphere Project, also called simply Hemisphere, is a mass surveillance program conducted by US telephone company AT&T and paid for by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Traffic enforcement camera

speed cameraspeed camerasphoto radar
Traffic cameras, which were meant to help enforce traffic laws at intersections, may be used by law enforcement agencies for purposes unrelated to traffic violations.
The latest automatic number plate recognition systems can be used for the detection of average speeds and raise concerns over loss of privacy and the potential for governments to establish mass surveillance of vehicle movements and therefore by association also the movement of the vehicle's owner.

Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act

CALEACommunications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA)Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act of 1992
The Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) requires that all U.S. telecommunications and Internet service providers modify their networks to allow easy wiretapping of telephone, VoIP, and broadband Internet traffic.
Some government agencies argue that it covers mass surveillance of communications rather than just tapping specific lines and that not all CALEA-based access requires a warrant.

National Defence Radio Establishment

Swedish National Defence Radio EstablishmentFRAlegislative change
Prior to 2009, the National Defence Radio Establishment (FRA) was limited to wireless signals intelligence (SIGINT), although it was left largely unregulated.
The law's proponents argued for the need to give FRA new guidelines and a modernized legal framework, in order to regulate Internet surveillance and to combat threats to national security more effectively, such as terrorism and serious transnational crime; while opponents to the law claimed it enabled mass surveillance and violated privacy rights.

Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights

Article 8ECHR article 8Article 8 ECHR
Mass surveillance, such as by the programs revealed in Edward Snowden's global surveillance disclosures, is often accused of violating the 8th article of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Automatic number-plate recognition

automatic number plate recognitionANPRautomatic license plate recognition
However, these states did not have today's technologies for mass surveillance, such as the use of databases and pattern recognition software to cross-correlate information obtained by wire tapping, including speech recognition and telecommunications traffic analysis, monitoring of financial transactions, automatic number plate recognition, the tracking of the position of mobile telephones, and facial recognition systems and the like which recognize people by their appearance, gait, DNA profiling, etc.
Critics have described it as a form of mass surveillance.

Secret police

political policeinternal intelligence organizationsAl-Amen
Before the Digital Revolution, one of the world's biggest mass surveillance operations was carried out by the Stasi, the secret police of the former East Germany.


National Intelligence Grid (Natgrid)
India is setting up a national intelligence grid called NATGRID, which would be fully set up by May 2011 where each individual's data ranging from land records, Internet logs, air and rail PNR, phone records, gun records, driving license, property records, insurance, and income tax records would be available in real time and with no oversight.

Global surveillance

government surveillanceInternational cooperationmass surveillance
Global mass surveillance refers to the mass surveillance of entire populations across national borders.

Police state

police statespolice-stateCop state
An electronic police state is a state in which the government aggressively uses electronic technologies to record, collect, store, organize, analyze, search, and distribute information about its citizens.
An electronic police state is one in which the government aggressively uses electronic technologies to record, organize, search and distribute forensic evidence against its citizens.

David Anderson, Baron Anderson of Ipswich

David Anderson QCDavid AndersonDavid William Kinloch Anderson
The Act was informed by two reports by David Anderson QC, the UK's Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation: A Question of Trust (2015) and the report of his Bulk Powers Review (2016), which contains a detailed appraisal (with 60 case studies) of the operational case for the powers often characterised as mass surveillance.
In August 2016 followed the report of Anderson's Bulk Powers Review, with 60 case studies, which examined the operational case for the bulk retention of data by MI5, MI6 and GCHQ and is a significant factual resource for debates on "mass surveillance".

We (novel)

WeThe Glass FortressThe Glass Fortress'' (2016 film)
D-503, a spacecraft engineer, lives in the One State, an urban nation constructed almost entirely of glass, which assists mass surveillance.


Government Communications HeadquartersGovernment Code and Cypher SchoolGovernment Code and Cypher School (GC&CS)
In 1946, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) was formed.
Furthermore, the IPT ruled that the legislative framework in the United Kingdom does not permit mass surveillance and that while GCHQ collects and analyses data in bulk, it does not practice mass surveillance.

Carnivore (software)

CarnivoreCarnivore (FBI)DCS1000
Billions of dollars per year are spent, by agencies such as the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), to develop, purchase, implement, and operate systems such as Carnivore, ECHELON, and NarusInsight to intercept and analyze the immense amount of data that traverses the Internet and telephone system every day.
The Associated Press reported in mid-January 2005 that the FBI essentially abandoned the use of Carnivore in 2001, in favor of commercially available software, such as NarusInsight, a mass surveillance system.