Surveillance is a French word that means "to watch from above", derived from the prefix "sur" (meaning "over", "above" or "from above"), and "veillance" (meaning "watching").
Surveillance generally refers to cameras or other sensors affixed to buildings or property.
The opposite of surveillance is sousveillance which generally refers to individuals' cameras or sensors (e.g. portable or wearable devices used by individuals to record an activity from the perspective of a participant in the activity).
"Surveillance has recently emerged as a large commercial industry, sized at $22 billion in 2012 and estimated to grow to $26 billion in 2013, at an annual growth rate of 20.4% ."
"There are approximately 30 million commercial surveillance cameras in the United States, recording billions of hours weekly (Popular Mechanics magazine). Police and governments around the world are installing surveillance cameras throughout entire cities. Computer vision is also being used to bring video surveillance cameras into essential life and safety devices like automatic ﬁre detection  (camera-based smoke detectors ), motion-detectors , and occupancy sensors for use in “classrooms, in private ofﬁces, and restrooms”. These camera-based occupancy sensors “determine the number and positions of the occupants” for increased energy savings ."
"Just like there is a camera in most cellphones, soon there will be a camera in most light ﬁxtures, including streetlights, for both occupancy sensing (see http://www.lsgc.com/pixelview/) and security (see http://intellistreets.com/):"
“THOUSANDS of old-fashioned street lights in Merseyside are set to be dismantled and replaced with hi-tech CCTV-equipped lamps. The £32.7m scheme would see about 14,000 lampposts across Knowsley modernised ...”
"Total surveillance has crept into most facets of our lives, including surveillance cameras in washrooms, changerooms, and locker rooms. A CBC news headline informs that Alberta’s Privacy Commissioner is in favour of locker-room surveillance cameras: “Cameras can stay in Talisman’s [athletic centre] locker room, says commissioner” (See http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/ /story/2007/03/22/talisman-privacy.html). And modern automatic ﬂush toilets, faucets, and sensor-operated showers are starting to use more sophisticated camera-based computer-vision technologies (e.g. U.S. Patent 5828793)."
"Surveillance has also emerged as a ﬁeld of study, . For example, a “Surveillance Studies Centre” was created at Queen’s University with a $2.5 million grant . (see http://www.sscqueens.org/news/sp-receives-25-million-from-sshrc)"
"Numerous conferences and symposia are now dedicated to the topic of surveillance. For example, the IEEE, one of many different technical societies, offers the following surveillance-related conferences, symposia, and workshops each year:
- IEEE International Conference on Advanced Video and Signal-Based Surveillance (AVSS);
- IEEE International Symposium on Monitoring & Surveillance Research (ISMSR);
- IEEE International Workshop on Socially Intelligent Surveillance and Monitoring (SISM);
- IEEE Workshop on Visual Surveillance;
- IEEE International Workshop on Performance Evaluation of Tracking and Surveillance,
and there are numerous other surveillance conferences, symposia, workshops, and the like."
- Steve Mann (2013). "Veillance and Reciprocal Transparency: Surveillance versus Sousveillance, AR Glass, Lifeglogging, and Wearable Computing". IEEE ISTAS: 1-12. http://wearcam.org/veillance/veillance.pdf. Retrieved 2014-08-10.
- Nick Coligan (29 November 2007). Liverpool Echo.