New research focus : the surveillance industry

New research focus : the surveillance industry

From Ears and Eyes

When cops decide to spy on us using surveillance devices such as hidden microphones and cameras or GPS trackers, they need to get the devices from somewhere. It seems that they often buy these devices from private companies. The companies that manufacture and market those devices are part of what we call the surveillance industry.

We think that understanding how the surveillance industry works, who sells the surveillance devices to the cops and what the devices look like will help us to oppose this surveillance. So we have started a research work focused on this industry, and particularly on the companies that participate in it.

On our website you will find an overview of the surveillance industry, a list of companies that sell surveillance devices to cops worldwide, a list of the trade shows and other events where you are likely to find these companies, a glossary of the specific terms of the industry, and a list of other resources on the subject. All this is available in english and french.

Our list currently includes 81 companies. For each of them, we have gathered information about the company contact information, legal status, clients, and products. We intend to continue this work and expand the list.

We also want to establish links between these companies and the devices that are found after being used to spy on anti-authoritarian spaces or individuals doing subversive actions. This has already been done in three cases:

  • The italian company Elkron/Urmet, based in Turin, sells miniature surveillance cameras that were used to spy on a squat in Genoa in 2014.
  • The company Reconyx, based in the United States, sells video surveillance devices that were used to spy on an anti-nuclear gathering in France in 2018.
  • The italian company DSE or “Digital Surveillance Equipment”, based in Turin, sells video surveillance devices that were used to spy on a gathering in front of a jail in Cuneo in 2019.

We want to continue this research work. We want to build knowledge in order to oppose the State, the cops, and their allies. If you have comments or criticism, or if you want to contribute informations, you can contact us.

There are 2 Comments

"It seems that they often buy these devices from private companies."

Are there instances of not buying these devices from private companies? Are there police departments that manufacture their own devices?

I don't think so. They might modify some devices themselves, but cops buy all their stuff off the rack from private companies.

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