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Surveillance 2: Knowing me, knowing you

We're in sharp focus, thanks to cameras and bugging devices

It's not your imagination: you are being watched. Thanks to advanced technology, video cameras and microphones are cheap, small, powerful and ubiquitous. Any spy shop can sell you high-powered bugging devices that can be concealed anywhere -- inside a stuffed animal, for example, if you want to see how the babysitter really treats your kids.

An increasing number of privately owned video cameras are aimed at public spaces, too. Four employees at KEZI-TV in America were fired for aiming the station's Sky-Cam (mounted atop a downtown bank building) into rooms at the nearby Hilton.

Virtually every American city uses some form of video surveillance, and New York, predictably, is at the top of the list. In December 1998, the New York Civil Liberties Union counted 2,397 cameras focused on public places in Manhattan. One of the most popular uses of video technology is to monitor traffic on freeways, with live images being available on the Internet.

Take me to the Surveillance 2 ZDNet News special.