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Home Surveillance

Computer and network surveillance is the monitoring of computer activity and data stored on a hard drive, or data being transferred over computer networks such as the Internet. The monitoring is often carried out covertly and may be completed by, or at the behest of, governments, by corporations, criminal organizations, or individuals. It may or may not be legal and may or may not require authorization from a court or other independent government agency.

Computer and network surveillance programs are widespread today and almost all Internet traffic is, or could potentially be, monitored for clues to illegal activity.

Surveillance is useful in that it allows governments and other agencies to maintain social control, recognize and monitor threats, as well as prevent and investigate criminal activity. With the advent of programs such as the Total Information Awareness program, technologies such as high speed surveillance computers and biometrics software, and laws such as the Communications Assistance For Law Enforcement Act, governments now possess an unprecedented ability to monitor the activities of citizens.

However, many civil rights and privacy groups, such as Reporters Without Borders, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and the American Civil Liberties Union, have expressed concern that with ever increasing surveillance of citizens we will end up in a mass surveillance society, with limited political and/or personal freedoms. Fears such as this have led to numerous lawsuits such as Hepting v. AT&T. The hacktivist group Anonymous has hacked into government websites in protest of what it considers "draconian surveillance".

It has been shown that it is possible to monitor computers from a distance, with only commercially available equipment, by detecting the radiation emitted by the CRT monitor. This form of computer surveillance, known as TEMPEST, involves reading electromagnetic emanations from computing devices in order to extract data from them at distances of hundreds of meters.

IBM researchers have also found that, for most computer keyboards, each key emits a slightly different noise when pressed. The differences are individually identifiable under some conditions, and so it's possible to log key strokes without actually requiring logging software to run on the associated computer.

And it has also been shown, by Adi Shamir et al., that even the high frequency noise emitted by a CPU includes information about the instructions being executed.

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