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Introduction to Surveillance Studies

Introduction to Surveillance Studies. By J.K. Petersen. CRC Press;; 416 pages; $73.95; also available as e-book.

The author of Introduction to Surveillance Studies offers a look at the history of surveillance, its tools and technologies, the reasons for using those tools, and the social issues surrounding the increasing use of cameras. The author poses questions about the nature of privacy in legislative and social contexts, and discusses surveillance as a tool that, like any other, can be put to use for good or evil.

The book examines using the Internet as an engine to monitor online activity and personal profiles, thereby complementing GPS and other modes of tracking. This aspect facilitates rescue operations, wildlife tracking, and navigation. Well-composed photos, graphical representations, tabulated data, and real-action lab works have been put together to explain miniaturization, securing data over long distances, and other concepts.

Also examined here are a wide spectrum of practical considerations, including planning for installation. Besides looking at basic CCTV cameras, the author discusses aerial surveillance cameras; mi­cro-cameras in pockets, pens, backpacks, skateboards, and more; and even dummy surveillance cameras. Sound coverage is meted out to biometrics surveillance, drug surveillance, audio surveillance, and surveillance via other sensors.

The perception of security vis-à-vis effective control of surveillance devices is given a sound treatment in this work. The chapter on constitutional freedoms provides food for thought on national security issues. From the point of view of a security professional, this book presents a deeper insight into the basic issues surrounding surveillance. Additionally, this book will appeal to those concerned with privacy, justice, and law enforcement.

Reviewer: Colonel Kuljeet Singh, CPP, is director of business development and planning for Command International Security Services, Inc. He is a member of ASIS International.