Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Close observation of a person or group, especially one under suspicion.
  • n. The act of observing or the condition of being observed.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Close observation of an individual or group; person or persons under suspicion.
  • n. Continuous monitoring of disease occurrence for example.
  • n. Systematic observation of places and people by visual, aural, electronic, photographic or other means.
  • n. In criminal law, an investigation process by which police gather evidence about crimes, or suspected crime, through continued observation of persons or places.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Oversight; watch; inspection; supervision.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Oversight; superintendence; supervision; watch; spying.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. close observation of a person or group (usually by the police)

Etymologies

Borrowing from French surveillance ("a watching over, overseeing, supervision"), from surveiller ("to watch, oversee"), from sur- ("over") + veiller ("to watch"), from Middle French, from Old French veillier ("to stay awake"), from Latin vigilāre, present active infinitive of vigilō ("I am watchful"). More at vigilant. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Google acted over dissident fears - Google realised dissidents were at risk from attempts to use company's technology for surveillance, say sources Google moved quickly to announce that it would stop censoring its Chinese ­service after realising dissidents were at risk from attempts to use the company's technology for political ­surveillance, according to a source with direct ­ ...

    Megite Technology News: What's Happening Right Now

  • Balkin rejects the term surveillance, and breaks the term down into the collection of information (which is possible via many different means), the collation of information

    ...My heart's in Accra

  • We feel that careful monitoring, what we call surveillance, looking for new diseases as they crop up anywhere in the world affects us anywhere else in the world.

    CNN Transcript - Special Event: Millennium 2000: Diseases That May Come and Go - January 1, 2000

  • After moving, her family were periodically placed under what she described as surveillance.

    The Guardian World News

  • Defenders of online tracking argue that this kind of surveillance is benign because it is conducted anonymously.

    Facebook in Privacy Breach

  • The word "surveillance" is in NEITHER Article I nor II -- consider it in the penumbra of "Commander in Chief" if that helps -- unless you are going to claim that no one in the U.S. government can legally spy on the enemy during wartime?!

    Balkinization

  • Charles writes: The word "surveillance" is in NEITHER Article I nor II --

    Balkinization

  • ANALYST: The very nature of anti-terror investigations is that there is long-term surveillance of people under suspicion.

    CNN Transcript Jan 8, 2010

  • JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ADVISER: The very nature of anti-terrorism investigations is that there is long-term surveillance of people under suspicion.

    CNN Transcript Jan 9, 2010

  • JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: The very nature of anti-terrorism investigations is that there is long-term surveillance of people under suspicion.

    CNN Transcript Jan 9, 2010

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