What is Computer Surveillance?

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  • Originally Written By: Ken Black
  • Revised By: A. Joseph
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 10 November 2019
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"Computer surveillance" often refers to a type of spying that tracks all activity on a computer. The term also might refer to the use of a computer to monitor security cameras and audio feeds. Both types of computer surveillance depend on specialized software specifically geared toward the task. There are professional systems for locations such as casinos and banks, and there are home security systems that also make use of this technology.

Monitoring Family Members

The type of computer surveillance in which the computer is being monitored might be used in many situations. People who suspect that they might have a cheating spouse can check computer activity for confirmation. It is also useful for parents to monitor what children are doing online.

Some software products will monitor all of the user's keystrokes. Others will monitor only Internet activity, such as any websites that are visited. Emails and instant messages also can be tracked. This type of computer surveillance can be a powerful tool for collecting evidence.

Monitoring Employees

Employers also use Internet monitoring software at times. They do so to determine what their employees are doing during working hours. Some employees might raise objections because of privacy issues, but most jurisdictions do not have any laws against this type of computer surveillance. Many employees are required to agree to this type of monitoring as a condition of their employment, but even this is often not required by law in many jurisdictions.


Video and Audio Feeds

The other type of computer surveillance involves computers being used to monitor security cameras or listening devices. The video or audio feeds are run through a computer system. They can be reviewed live or might be stored on a hard drive and reviewed later if necessary.

Usually, recordings will be stored for a limited time before being cleared to make space for newer footage. The length of time the recording is stored often depends on such things as the company's policy and the available storage capacity. Video recordings of a parking lot might be kept for only a few days, but video recordings of a casino floor might be kept for several months.

Remote-Control Cameras

Computer surveillance of this type might even allow the people who are monitoring a live feed to reposition cameras to particular areas of interest. This is especially true of casinos and banks, where certain people might warrant more interest than others. The computer is linked to the camera and is controlled by remote control. This remote link makes it easier to monitor activity without alerting the people who are under surveillance that they have aroused suspicion.


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my pc has been hacked. how did this happen?

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