Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Electronics Surveillance: Successes and Failures

Dr S.S. Verma is a professor at Department of Physics, Sant Longowal Institute of Engineering & Technology, Sangrur, Punjab

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Surveillance in its various forms and for different situations has been practiced by humans from time immemorial. People used to accomplish this task for themselves and for others as a social obligation or as a paid job.

When unlawful activities like thefts and crimes in the society are growing in an unprecedented and uncontrolled manner, and law-enforcing agencies are finding themselves incapable to cope up with the challenges and smart modes of operandi by thieves and criminals, along with the isolated and indifferent attitude of individuals towards society, the role of electronic surveillance has become indispensable.


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The use of electronic or electric methods to keep watch over persons or organisations, termed as physical surveillance, has obvious advantages for the purpose of law enforcement. It is a means to observe suspected individuals in normal, uninhibited states to gather possibly useful information.

Two general categories of electronic communication surveillance exist.

Wire communications refer to the transfer of human voice from one point to another via use of a wire or cable. When law enforcement agencies tap a wire, they use some mechanical or electrical device that gives them access to the communication, thus disclosing contents of the conversation.

Electronic communications refer to the transfer of information, data or sounds from one location to another over a device designed for electronic transmission. This type of communication includes email or information uploaded from a private computer to the Internet.

The techniques of electronic eavesdropping offer the possibility of gathering evidence, which would otherwise be unobtainable.

Interception of wire communications is almost as old as the inventions of the telegraph and telephone. Late ninteenth century witnessed the inventions and uses of microphones, dictograph recorders and hidden cameras to conduct surveillance, usually by private detective agencies. Wiretapping and other forms of electronic surveillance became big business as manufacturing concerns started producing more elaborate and efficient means of eavesdropping. Moreover, planted bugs and wiretapping were used extensively in 1940s and 1950s. As technology matured, debate started on its successes and failures.

Electronic security solutions

Placing an RFID tag near an RFID reader
Placing an RFID tag near an RFID reader

The emergence of globalisation and liberalisation brought prosperity and improved standards of living. With rising levels of income, the crime graph also increased in almost every part of the world. If people are earning big money, they also have to live with the fear of safety and security of their hard-earned money. Apart from money, they need to safeguard their families, loved ones and precious possessions.

Governments worldwide try their best to protect the interests of their citizens but most often than not, it does not suffice. Because of this, most people, especially in urban areas, prefer to have their own electronic security systems installed in their homes and offices.

Electronic security systems have become exceedingly essential for the masses. These help in several ways. First, these let you have a peaceful sleep, knowing that you and your family are safe and secure. The terror of burglars is everywhere. No house can be called safe, knowing that even these miscreants use the latest technology and equipment to rob valuables.

It is always better to have a proactive approach while thinking of installing electronic security systems. These systems are wonderfully helpful in protecting your interests. You should never take a chance as far as home security is concerned. Nothing matters more than the lives of your loved ones.

Electronic surveillance is the monitoring of behaviour, activities or other changing information, usually of people and often in a surreptitious manner. It usually refers to observation of individuals or groups by government organisations.

The word surveillance may be applied to observation from a distance by means of electronic equipment (like CCTV cameras) or interception of electronically-transmitted information (like the 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 for governments and law enforcement agencies to maintain social order, recognise and monitor threats, and prevent/investigate criminal activity. In today’s scenario of intrusion, unsuspected attacks and thefts, security planning is incomplete without intelligent deployment of technology. Technology can solve many issues that human beings can never handle effectively by themselves.

To provide a complete solution in the domain of security, there is an exhaustive range of electronic systems, which would provide the much needed strength to human guarding. Comprehensive surveillance control systems and management solutions deliver feature-rich camera management, intelligent detection and delivery, and the most advanced means of video monitoring.

Some crucial areas of application are banks, homes, shops, offices and jewellery shops, to name a few. Electronic alarms, barrier bars and motion detectors are some home security options.


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