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How to use the Surveillance Industry Index

One of the central purposes of the Surveillance industry Index is to allow the materials collected to be available for search for the general public, regardless of the level of knowledge that they may have of the companies involved in the surveillance sector or the technologies sold.

With this in mind, a large amount of metadata has been attached to the documents with shared characteristics which can be explored and will provide more accurate information.

If you have any questions about searching the Surveillance Industry Index, including companies profiled and the technologies categorised please contact, for more information.


The name of the company that produces the technology. (e.g. Advanced Systems)

The name of the technology that the company sells. (e.g. Cerebro)

The group of technologies that a particular technology belongs to. There are 10 main groups contained within the Index they are as follows:

  • Internet Monitoring: Technologies that focus on gathering information communicated across the internet.
  • Phone Monitoring: Technologies that focus on gathering information communicated across mobile, fixed or next generation networks (2G, 3G, 4G).
  • Intrusion: Technologies that install themselves onto a person’s communication device (mobile or computer), removing information from the device
  • Monitoring Centre: Technologies that combine the focus of Internet Monitoring, Phone Monitoring, even Audio and Video Surveillance, into one suite of technology.
  • Location Monitoring: Technologies that monitor the location of a target, sometimes using their mobile phone, others using GPS tracking devices placed on the person or their vehicle
  • Biometrics: Technologies that identify and categorise people based on individual characteristics. (Speech Recognition, Facial Recognition, Speaker Identification, Biometrics Database)
  • Analysis: Technology that uses information gathered from sources such as social networks to map out relationships between monitored users, recognise patterns within data, analyse the meaning of words, etc.
  • Audio Surveillance: Technologies that surveil by using Audio-based technologies
  • Video Surveillance: Technologies that surveil by using Video-based technologies
  • Equipment: A miscellaneous category, for those things that don’t necessarily provide surveillance capabilities but can aid them (vans, computer monitors, UAVs)

Within Product Group, there are individual technologies contained. All the values that can be searched are present in the category Product. We are currently working on a tool that will allow you to gain access to this information in a much more user-friendly way. Until then it is recommended that you spend time with the Master Search in learning the kinds of technologies that you would be interested in.

The type of material that is provided for in The Index, these can range from a one-page “Brochure” to a 400-page “Catalogue” to Newsletters. The autocompleted Master Search on the SII homepage will provide you with all different values.

Companies in this sector often collaborate and form partnerships that they advertise through their materials, if a second company other than the original one contained in Company-Name is mentioned then it will be found here. This allows you to observe different relationships that companies have with each other.

The language the material is written in, English is not contained within this category but treated instead as a default.

If a particular country is mentioned in the material then that country is contained within this field.

Some of the materials contained within SII are Presentations and White Papers with particular authors, their names are contained within here.

The title of those Presentations and White Papers will be contained in here. The Master Search on the homepage will give you a list of the titles available for investigation.

The Search

The Surveillance Industry Index is hosted on DocumentCloud. There are three searches that are available: Data, Description and Text.

Searching the document data through a basic match search is useful for searches when you want an EXACT match between category and value, but does not allow a search to be cast wider than those strict parameters.

For example:

  • If you wanted to search for all documents for the company VASTech, your search would look like this “Company-Name: VASTech”. The autocomplete search function will give you a list of companies you can search for and you can choose any of them to retrieve the relevant documents.
  • If you wanted to search for all documents that relate to Internet Monitoring technology made by VASTech, you would add to your basic match search “Product-Group: Internet Monitoring”.

The drawback for this search is that the search will only find documents that match EXACTLY your search, so a document that mentions multiple products, for instance would not be returned.


This is where the Description search comes in to help.

The Description search is a keyword search that takes place within the document description section of the material, rather than the document data search that the Basic Match searches. All of the information available in document data is mirrored in the Document Description. So you can search the same data but from a much wider perspective.

For example:

  • In the Basic Match search we were only able to return materials that contained EXACTLY “Internet Monitoring” and no other technologies, meaning some relevant materials that advertise more than one technology would not be returned.
  • This is solved by employing the description search, presented as “Description: Internet Monitoring”.
  • This search will then return all documents that CONTAIN “Internet Monitoring”, this will include large catalogues that contain multiple technologies like Phone Monitoring, Monitoring Centres and Intrusion technology.

Keep in mind, though, that you will not be given a list of autocompleted phrases so it is worth exploring the structure of the Surveillance Industry Index’s data to get a clear  idea of what you are looking for.


The final search option is searching by text that appears within the document, not within the document data or document description as the other two searches provide. This search looks at the words contained in the document and pulls out instances of it occurring and presents it to you. This search relies on Document Cloud’s Optical Character Recognition ability to make it reliable.

If you have looked at the document data provided and want to search for something that is not covered by the categories or information given there then this search is the most useful.

For example:

  • You want to know about technology that operates on High Frequency (HF) and Ultra High Frequency (UHF), the Document Data section doesn’t contain that type of information.
  • To search the text, select "Text:", then "High Frequency” and the search results returned will be all instances of “High Frequency” occurring WITHIN the document.
  • If you remove the quotation marks around High Frequency and search for that you will return all instances of the word High and the word Frequency occurring in the documents, but not necessarily just the instances where they occur together.

This search is not as robust as the previous two options so your terms will need to be exact and precise to return relevant documents.

Other Tools

Other options available when using the three search forms in Document Cloud are Boolean operators like “and” and “or” in conjunction with parentheses for grouping, also “!” can be used to exclude terms that you don’t want presented in your results. For instance, typing in "Description:" then "!internet" will give you back all materials that do not contain the word internet.

You can also use * for wildcard searches which will return results that contain multiple matches for similar terms.