Petersen Julie K. - Understanding Surveillance Technologies

Author : Petersen Julie K.
Title : Understanding Surveillance Technologies Spy Devices, Their Origins & Applications
Year : 2001

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This book was designed to set the groundwork for learning about surveillance technologies. The basic stepping stones presented here will make it easier to understand more advanced texts devoted to individual technologies such as radar, sonar, video cameras, and genetic profiling. Understanding Surveillance Technologies is the first comprehensive, introductory overview of the field of surveillance devices. It comprises 18 chapters and includes more than 700 photos and illustrations. It is suitable for college surveillance courses, professional recruiting programs, and as a reference for beginning professionals in the fields of law enforcement, forensics, and military surveillance. It has been designed with a flexible, modular format. The chapters can be read in almost any order and chapters that share common topics are cross-referenced to alert the reader. Everyone needs to understand surveillance technologies. Surveillance devices are now everywhere and many people don’t even realize they’re being surveilled, cataloged, and stored in a multitude of databases without their knowledge. Here are some examples that show how important it is to get a better understanding of how we are being observed: • It is now possible to locate extensive detailed information on the Internet about people who have never even logged on to the Net nor even used a computer. It is even possible to quickly find out the names, addresses, and phone numbers of their neighbors, providing the data to create a composite picture of a neighborhood’s residents and their social and economic characteristics. This book provides a better understanding of who is collecting this information, how they are doing it, and what they are doing with that data once they have it. • Some hospitals now routinely take DNA samples of newborn babies and the U.S. armed forces require mandatory submission of a DNA sample. This book explains the background and origins of DNA matching and the possible social consequences of its use. In many instances, your DNA can reveal your gender, race, medical tendencies, and physical characteristics. • Semi-nude and nude photos of unwary victims are being sold on the Internet without their knowledge or permission. How is this possible? This book explains how these technologies work and why bootleg images may not yet be illegal. It further describes ethical and social consequences of these new forms of exploitation. • Gaming centers, hotels, and trade shows are now using magnetic access cards to keep track of their guests. In casinos they can tell how often patrons play, how much they spend, and how frequently they visit the establishment. Even universities are beginning to issue student cards that are also access cards. They work in vending machines, copy machines, and in various retail outlets on campus. In some instances, this information is stored in sophisticated databases. This text describes a variety of types of access and article surveillance technologies that provide travel suppliers, casinos, hotels, and retail outlets with detailed information on their patrons. • Law enforcement agencies are consolidating their forensic and criminal databases and providing Internet access from any part of the country. This is providing new ways to solve serial murders and to catch felons who move from state to state, but it also makes a criminal less distinguishable from a law-abiding citizen in a computer database. However good the intentions of the law enforcement personnel may be, there are good ways and bad ways to structure databases so they don’t violate the rights of honest people and not all programmers who create the software are aware of the ethical consequences of their software design strategies. This text looks at some of the various databases that are being used to fight crime and how we can take steps to support the efforts of law enforcement officials without turning the country into a repressive Big Brother society. This is just a handful of the significant issues discussed in this book. There are also notes on the history and current state of intelligence-gathering in America, concerns about chemical and nuclear treaty surveillance and enforcement, and information about new technologies that are allowing us to surveil space and other planets. Surveillance devices are used in virtually every field of endeavor, from handheld magnifying glasses to sophisticated magnetic resonance imaging machines, ‘spy’ devices allow us to see beyond the basic senses that nature gave us in ways we wouldn’t have imagined two hundred or even fifty years ago. This book is a fascinating journey through technology and provides more than a little food for thought as to how we can and should use these new devices. ...

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