Electronic surveillance may be defined as the use of electronic devices to monitor people, their communications, and their physical environment. Electronic surveillance techniques and equipment allow people to gather data in an automated manner, usually while concealing the surveillance efforts from one or more of the monitored parties. Because businesses are involved in the development and production of computer hardware and software, as well as the carriage and storage of electronic data, there are many ethical issues that are involved in electronic surveillance.

Although electronic surveillance has escalated with the advent of new technologies, there are many examples of electronic surveillance that predate the computer era. These include the use of radio and television equipment to monitor conversations, and wiretaps of telecommunication lines.

Cameras have been used ...

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