Surveillance has traditionally been used by law enforcement organisations to keep a close observation on one or more people. Covert recording devices, for instance, are routinely used by police to monitor a person or group of people who are under suspicion for the purposes of gathering intelligence or evidence toward conviction.
The advent of closed circuit television (CCTV), also known as video surveillance, initially meant that police had to keep watch and be vigilant at all times to ensure they caught the criminal in the act, with an ability to give an eyewitness account of the crime scene thereafter in court. Reel-to-reel media recordings were unwieldy and expensive to
begin with. However, even as early as 1968, some locations in New York were fitted with CCTV in an attempt to reduce crime hot spots.
On-board storage devices and advancements in computer technology meant that by the late 1990s many businesses had begun to install cameras as a theft deterrent against criminal activity in banks and retail stores. Franchises
selling spyware since 2010 have internationally increased in number exponentially, with affordable yet powerful products being manufactured in Asia. Devices that were once
costly and required special clearance to purchase can now be bought over the counter or on the internet by everyday citizens. Television shows like CSI and Person of Interest have raised the profile of forensics and modern surveillance capabilities.
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