ADVERTISEMENT

Are You Being Watched? Probably

Looking back at the surveillance all around us--from wiretapped phones to security cameras

1 of 7

THE MIC IS MIGHTIER THAN THE SWORD:

This pen, perhaps left on a desk or given over to a suspect as a favor, is equipped with a special mini microphone. It can pick up and transmit the audio of a targeted person's conversation to a spook with a receiver almost 1,640 feet (500 meters) away.....[ More ]

WATCHTOWER:

An employee at the Library of Congress monitors people in the Reading Room. The footage is taped and archived.....[ More ]

GIVING A WHOLE NEW MEANING TO "WRISTWATCH":

This CIA wristwatch is outfitted with a cord that runs to a tape recorder hidden in an agent's clothing.....[ More ]

LIGHTS, CAMERA, NO ACTION:

Many gas stations, convenience stores and other vulnerable businesses have turned to closed-circuit camera systems to safeguard their premises against robberies. Here customers waiting in line watch themselves being watched.....[ More ]

TAPPED OUT:

Connecting leads to the wires in phones or in the junction box where phone lines enter a building can give snoopers direct access to callers' conversations. Government spying on Americans had been made illegal without a warrant in the 1970s, but the Bush administration controversially circumvented these laws after the September 11 attacks.....[ More ]

SAFETY THROUGH VIGILANCE:

That is the apparent security motto in more and more locations, as cameras festoon public areas, outdoor ATMs and street corners. Security cameras have proliferated in cities like Beijing ahead of the 2008 Olympic Games, as well as metropolises struck by terrorist attacks, such as London and New York.....[ More ]

PHONING IT IN:

Public telephones have become increasingly scarce in the era of cell phones, but land lines still serve as a vital communication link where cell phones won't work (in underground train stations, for example).....[ More ]

risk free title graphic

YES! Send me a free issue of Scientific American with no obligation to continue the subscription. If I like it, I will be billed for the one-year subscription.

cover image Subscribe Now
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Share this Article:
Scientific American Special Universe

Get the latest Special Collector's edition

Secrets of the Universe: Past, Present, Future

Order Now >

X

Email this Article

X