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December 14, 2011

The Booming Business of Surveillance Technology

The recent disclosure by Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) of the use of Carrier IQ technology by cell phone companies to potentially monitor cell phone use among millions of customers is just the tip of the iceberg into the secret world of surveillance technology. Since 2001 a retail market for surveillance tools has grown from zero into a $5 billion a year business. 

Surveillance technology is broken down into five categories: web scraping, data analysis, interception/monitoring, hacking and anonymity. Here are some of the more interesting technologies:

Finfisher is used by law enforcement and governments to remotely access so called "target systems" giving full access to stored information with the ability to take control of the target system's functions to the point of capturing encrypted data and communications.  

Medav is a speech technology that can be trained to analyze voice communications from a variety of sources and identify topics, keywords and phrases.

HackingTeam is a stealth remote evidence collection technology that can evade encryption on a target system like a laptop and is untraceable.

SS8's Intellego is used for real time internet communication monitoring and data analysis. It extracts relationships from intercepted communications and categorizes it as well.

Kapow is a powerful platform that allows you to capture data from a variety of sources (apps, databases, extranets and intranets, social media, XML and CSV feeds, SOAP and REST services, FTP sites, Flash, Excel, PDF and Word files) and integrate it into a single database for analysis and review.

Whats interesting is that many of these technologies like Medav, Kapow and Intellego could prove extremely useful to corporations for ediscovery search and analysis. 

For a list of surveillance technology, visit the Wall Street Journal's Surveillance Catalog.



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