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Electronic security systems are effective. In fact, many convicted burglars have admitted that if a home is protected by one, they will choose another target.

Types of surveillance
Various surveillance means include computer surveillance, bugged telephones, surveillance cameras, social network analysis, biometric surveillance, aerial surveillance, data mining and profiling, corporate surveillance, human operatives, satellite imagery, identification and credentials, radio frequency identification (RFID) and geolocation devices, RFID tagging, global positioning systems, mobile phones, surveillance devices and postal services, among others.

Video surveillance. One of the technologies that is gaining traction is video. This ubiquitous security medium has made it more acceptable for companies to have these as part of their arsenals. Two major applications for video surveillance are monitoring and forensics.

Monitoring is when companies use it in real-time to observe and react, and forensics is using the video system for review after an event has happened.

Analogue cameras are the original CCTV cameras that are hooked to the walls. The newer network cameras, on the other hand, can be set up almost anywhere in a building. Because of wireless capabilities, these are connected to the company’s network server and video is streamed.

Safety alarms. An alarm system with individualised messaging capabilities is another example of where technology is advancing. Not only can a fire alert be sent, but other predetermined messages such as one announcing a terrorist attack or a chemical release can inform employees as to what is going on during an emergency.

Security camera installed at a modern office
Security camera installed at a modern office

When deciding on a safety alarm system, it is recommended that you get your local fire department involved early to ensure the facility will be up to the requirement, and that the fire department will be able to familiarise itself with the company’s fire safety system and evacuation procedures.

Mechanical locks. Data transfer key is an example of a more contemporary key that still mechanically unlocks a cylinder, but the key’s electronic circuit talks to the lock and records the person’s identification (ID) number. The information captured in the lock can be downloaded to the key itself, or a handheld device can be used to retrieve the information from the lock and take it back to a computer. A log of insertions for that particular lock can be developed, and this offers yet another layer of accountability.

ID cards. Proximity cards and devices continue to remain the most popular form of identification. Proximity technology is very user-friendly and cost-effective. Its convenience makes it widely used across vertical markets.

Smartcards, on the other hand, use the newer identification technology that some day may be more widely used if things like biometrics are adopted. While smartcards have many benefits over proximity cards, especially when it comes to using a single credential for multiple applications, not all end users require these additional security features. So proximity, which is a long established technology, is a perfectly suitable solution.

Smartcards can store digital certificates, encryption algorithms, biometric information and qualification information. And these maintain a contact or contactless interface, which is used to gain entry into access points.

Electronic surveillance of employees
Electronic surveillance of employees is increasing every year, according to an electronic monitoring and surveillance survey. Powerful reasons exist to monitor an employee’s online behaviour at work.

Not every workforce, workplace, or work culture and environment is a candidate for electronic surveillance at work. In fact, in some work environments (depending on the culture and environment desired), electronic surveillance of employees might injure trust and relationships, and send powerfully wrong messages to the workforce.

But use of electronic devices to keep watch over a person has advantages for law enforcement. It can be a means to freely observe and gather information on dangerous or suspicious individuals or groups. On the level of espionage, it can aid in the accumulation and assessment of information, foretelling hostile actions directed against the establishment/organisation.

Manufacturing and corporate firms have used electronic devices to gain trade and marketing secrets as well as to monitor employees. Intense competition and jealousy have provided the rationale for electronic snooping among private citizens.

Large-scale gambling operations could suffer at the hands of a bettor privy to otherwise inaccessible information. The same could be said for campaigning officials and the stock market.

In essence, electronic surveillance offers the possibility to gather information on any one, at any time, for any duration. There are numerous electronic devices employed for electronic surveillance, a few of which are discussed below.

Wiretapping. This refers to the deliberate use of electronic or electrical equipment to intercept oral communication of non-consenting parties by a third party. Although the means vary, most sophisticated techniques involve a connection to the wires at a central junction box, allowing the tapper the luxury of an extension to the desired wires.

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