Surveillance industry – glossary

This page aims to list the terms used in the surveillance industry. When a term is referenced on the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, a link to the corresponding Wikipedia article is given after the term definition.

CDMA2000 : third-generation (3G) cellular standard especially used in North America and South Korea, competing with UMTS / Wikipedia

COMINT (Communications Intelligence) : gathering of intelligence related to communications between people, sub-category of SIGINT / Wikipedia

DVR (Digital video recorder) : electronic device that records video in a digital format to a mass storage device, such as a disk drive, a SD memory card or a networked storage device / Wikipedia

ELINT (Electronic intelligence) : gathering of intelligence from electronic signals not directly used in communication, sub-category of SIGINT / Wikipedia

Geofencing : feature included in many tracking devices which allows the device to detect when it enters or exits specific pre-determined areas, and react accordingly – for example by sending an alarm to the spy / Wikipedia

GLONASS (GLObal NAvigation Satellite System) : satellite navigation system owned by Russia that provides geolocation information to receivers everywhere in the world, competing with GPS / Wikipedia

GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) : generic acronym for satellite navigation systems providing navigation information on a global scale, such as the GPS or GLONASS systems / Wikipedia

GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) : cellular standard used for data transmission in second-generation (2G) and third-generation (3G) cellular networks / Wikipedia

GPS (Global Positioning System) : satellite navigation system owned by the United States that provides geolocation information to receivers everywhere in the world, competing with GLONASS / Wikipedia

GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) : second-generation (2G) cellular standard used worldwide / Wikipedia

HF (High frequency) : range of radio frequencies between 3 Mhz and 30 Mhz / Wikipedia

Homeland security : precautions taken by the government of a country against terrorist attacks and other serious threats / Wikipedia

IMSI (International mobile subscriber identity) : number that uniquely identifies every device of a cellular network / Wikipedia

IMSI-catcher (International mobile subscriber identity-catcher) : surveillance device used for intercepting mobile phone traffic in an area around the device and obtain informations about mobile phones in this area / Wikipedia

LEA (Law enforcement agency) : government agency responsible for the enforcement of the laws / Wikipedia

LI (Lawful interception) : process in which communications between organizations or private citizens are collected by a service provider, and provided to law enforcement agencies, provided that they are in possession of a court order or other legal authorization / Wikipedia

LTE (Long-Term Evolution) : fourth-generation (4G) cellular standard / Wikipedia

NLJD (Nonlinear junction detector) : counter-surveillance equipment able to detect the presence of almost any unshielded electronic device containing semiconductors, even through walls, and even if the device is unpowered. It works by illuminating a small region of space with high-frequency radio frequencies : some components of semiconductor electronics will react to these radio frequencies in a specific way, and this reaction will be detected by the nonlinear junction detector / Wikipedia

OEM (Original equipment manufacturer) : company that produces goods that may be marketed by another company under their own name / Wikipedia

PEC (Posta elettronica certificata) : special type of email that allows users to legally prove that a given email has been sent and received, used mainly in Italy for communications between enterprises and the public administration / Wikipedia (en), Wikipedia (it)

PMC (Private military company) : private company providing military or security services for financial gain / Wikipedia

PoE (Power over Ethernet) : standard that allows Ethernet cables to simultaneously transmit data and power using a single network cable, allowing for example physical surveillance devices to be powered with a network cable instead of being connected to a standard electrical system / Wikipedia

PSTN (Public switched telephone network) : historical network of landline phones, in opposition to mobile phone networks / Wikipedia

RF (Radio frequencies) : electromagnetic wave frequencies between 30 Hz and 300 Ghz, constituting the radio spectrum, used by humans for a large range of applications, from communicating informations to heating things in microwave ovens / Wikipedia

SIGINT (Signals Intelligence) : gathering of intelligence by the interception of signals, whether communications between people (COMINT) or from electronic signals not directly used in communication (ELINT) / Wikipedia

TSCM (Technical surveillance counter-measures) : technical measures put in place to oppose surveillance, such as using hardware devices to search for bugs, using secure software or concealing ones identity / Wikipedia

UHF (Ultra high frequency) : range of radio frequencies between 300 Mhz and 3 Ghz / Wikipedia

UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) : third-generation (3G) cellular standard especially used in Europe, Japan and China, competing with CDMA2000 / Wikipedia

VHF (Very high frequency) : range of radio frequencies between 30 Mhz and 300 Mhz / Wikipedia