INFO2009 Resource

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Welcome to our blog! Here you’ll find learning resources on a wide variety of topics relating to surveillance.

To see a summary of various surveillance aspects in action, watch the video below (or click the link here). Or scroll furthur down to read about different topics in more detail.

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Is the privacy of millions at stake?

In the present age Surveillance is applied in different fields for various reasons by the government. Lately it has become a key issue because there has been a lot of news regarding surveillance, which portraits it as a threat to people’s privacy. It was often thought that surveillance was beneficial for the society to protect it against terrorists, crime and any other issue harmful for the society. For this reason people did not mind surveillance in everyday life.

          The problem arises when it is not only the government but also the private companies  impose these rules. Earlier people were not aware of this because the companies never disclosed the details.

Public were under the misconception that surveillance solely meant being observed by camera (that is video surveillance). But lately there has been a lot of news about the phone-hacking scandal

The News International phone-hacking scandal involved the Employers of the News of the World and other British tabloid newspapers in phone-hacking and publishing improper stories. Previously celebrities were victims of these events but the revelation of the Milly Dowler case [] raised concern among the public about their privacy.

There were allegations regarding the hacking since a long time but no proper action was taken to stop it. The time line of the phone-hacking scandal [ ].

The major concerns is if the government taking enough measures to protect people’s privacy. Usually hacking involves destruction , monitoring,  altering, and exploitation of personal information which is not completely acceptable. Hacking is not always bad it is sometimes beneficial for the society but the government need to impose strict rules against individual privacy being lost due to surveillance. This [ ]news article shows how the law is failing to do so. This scandal raised ethical questions against the world of journalism.

          Being under surveillance has side effects. This news article [ ] demonstrates an example on how they used the surveillance application to check the functionality of the phone but at the same time all the information the user will not be comfortable disclosing is also retrieved by the phone companies.

This clearly shows that surveillance which was supposed to be a benefit to the society  is causing inconvenience to the members of the society. The private investigators or any other companies should not implement surveillance without the supervision of the government officials. The government already has a legislation that provides civil and criminal sanctions for the hacking of mobile communications against the law which needs to be reinforced. The government should define definite boundaries of surveillance, up to what extent is it okay to be under surveillance to prevent rights infringing.

A news article showing how the laws of surveillance in UK have been failing [ ]

References :

BBC, Legal row over Carrier IQ ‘Surveillance’ app claims, 1 December 2011, [Online], Available:[Accessed 7 Dec 2011]

BBC, Phone-hacking scandal: Timeline, [Online], Available: [Accessed 7 Dec 2011]

Eric Metcalfe, Britain deserves better surveillance laws, 4 November 2011, [Online], Available: [Accessed 7 Dec 2011]

 Government, T.H.E. et al., 2011. Unauthorised tapping into or hacking of mobile communications Unauthorised tapping into or hacking of mobile communications. , (September).  Available at:

Josh Halliday and Lisa O’ Carroll, Phone hacking: 'NoW journalists deleted Milly Dowler voicemails', 29 November 2011, [Online], Available: [Accessed 7 Dec 2011]

Owen Bowcott, Law against phone hacking is not working,says civil liberties group, 4 November 2011,[Online], Available:[Accessed 7 Dec 2011]

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CCTV (Closed Circuit Television)

Nowadays, Closed Circuit Television Cameras (CCTV) has become an important crime prevention and security measure. Cameras collect images, which are transferred to a monitor- recording device of some sort, where they are available to be watched, reviewed and/or stored.

CCTV is a situational measure that enables a locale to be kept under surveillance remotely. This makes it possible for the police, and other law and regulatory agencies such as private security, to respond to incidents when alerted, and to have information about what to look for when they arrive. The storing of images means that post-incident analysis helpful to an investigation can be facilitated. However, there are many different types of CCTV systems and they have different capacities to meet a variety of objectives.

So what are the benefits of having CCTV installation? Below is a list on the advantages CCTV can provide for your business:

·         Helps reduce the fear of crime

·         Acts as a visual crime deterrent

·         Helps detect crime and provide evidential material for court proceedings

·         Helps assist with the overall management

·         Enhances Community Safety, assisting the economic well-being of the area and encourages greater use of the town centre, shopping centers and car parks etc.

·         Supports the civil proceedings

CCTV is becoming an integral part of crime control policy across the world. And Britain is ‘surveillance society’ now - There are up to 4.2m CCTV cameras in Britain, fears that the UK would “sleep-walk into a surveillance society” have become a reality, the government’s information commissioner has said. 

It predicts that by 2016 shoppers could be scanned as they enter stores, schools could bring in cards allowing parents to monitor what their children eat, and jobs may be refused to applicants who are seen as a health risk.

There is lots of news regarding how CCTV helps the police to trace the people and then find out the criminal.

McDonalds armed robbers caught on CCTV (it happened in February)


BBC, Britain is ‘surveillance society’,  2 November 2006 [Online] Available from:  [Accessed December 7, 2011] 

Gill, M. & Spriggs, A., 2005. Assessing the impact of CCTV. Home Office, (February) Available at:

 The Telegraph, McDonalds armed robbers caught on CCTV, 05 Dec 2011[Online] Available from: [Accessed December 7, 2011]

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IT Surveillance in China

In the 21st century, once you’ve got a computer, you can find any information on the Internet by using a search engine. You can freely post your opinions on a social network website or application and you can use instant messengers to chat with your friends. But this is not the case for the residents of China; they do not have the same freedom of information as people in other countries.


Besides the Great Wall, China has another ‘great’ wall -‘The Great Firewall’. This firewall blocks Chinese residents from browsing some specific websites which may contain sensitive information. There is no access to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Wikipedia and Google+ in China. The only way to access websites such as these is to bypass the censorship by using a proxy server. The Chinese government, therefore, has the authority to watch their residents’ online activity and any derogatory comments which show the government in a negative light are deleted. The regime justifies this deletion of sensitive or controversial information as keeping the Internet ‘peaceful’. There are positive aspects to the censorship, such as the government attempting to protect their citizens and prevent any political unrest.


It poses the question; what kind of information do the authorities actually conceal from their citizens? Information relating to points in history which portray the government in a negative light, such as the Tiananmen Square protests, 1989 and the Weiquan, or ‘rights defending’, movement in China.


The scale of Internet surveillance has increased recently as businesses, cafes and hotels in Beijing are being forced to install surveillance technology to monitor the online activity of their Wi-Fi users. This is not only an invasion of privacy for the users, but also affects the business owners as they have to spend more money installing such software. Regardless of business size, the estimated cost of installing surveillance software is £1900.


This is an ongoing problem and one that will persist until the actions of the government is exposed. However, this is unlikely to take place for some time since China is still in a developing stage and exposing such surveillance would affect China’s image. People who do not live in China should treasure their freedom of information and the ability to surf the Internet as they wish.




Branigan, T. (2011) China boosts internet surveillance, 26 Jul, [Online], Available: [6 Dec 2011].