WIU Logo

Electronic Surveillance

A Guide to Finding Government and Legal Information

Web version of this guide includes links to web resources.

Search Tips:

Mix and match these terms in searching the library catalog, WestCat , or use them to search journal articles and law reviews via the library's Databases page. You can also use them to search government information sites listed on our Starting Points page - click the tab and pay particular attention to the Top Six.

  • Big Brother
  • facial recognition
  • biometrics
  • FISA
  • Stingray
  • Narus
  • webcam
  • law enforcement
  • telecommunications
  • online social networks
  • digital surveillance
  • electronic surveillance
  • wiretapping
  • eavesdropping
  • OnStar
  • National Security Agency/NSA
  • GPS tracking
  • thermal imaging
  • electronic intelligence
  • search and seizure
  • space surveillance
  • reconnaissance

Related Topics:
  • counterterrorism
  • U.S. Constitution
  • Fourth Amendment

An important source for many research topics is Congress. Congressional committees and subcommittees hold hearings on a wide variety of controversial and timely subjects. Simply add the word "hearing?" to a search string in WestCat .

Search Engines

Google and StartPage
Use these search engines to search for government information by typing "site:gov" in the search box preceding your search terms:

  • site:gov "electronic surveillance"
  • site:mil eavesdropping
Law Review Articles and Annotations

Law reviews are an important resource for legal topics like this one. They can lead you to laws and cases as well as discuss legal theory. A few law journals are indexed in multidisciplinary databases, but the best bang for your buck will be to search Nexis Uni for full-text access to many hundreds of law reviews.

Federal Government Information
Report on the telephone records program conducted under Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act and on the operations of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court

The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board declares the NSA metadata collection program, exposed by Edward Snowden, illegal and in violation of both federal and constitutional law.

The Administration’s Use of FISA Authorities

Members from both sides of the aisle react to the Snowden revelations as they question NSA administrators about the collection and use of metadata and the role the FISA court plays. Unhappy that the NSA, and not the FISC, determines when a query is to be conducted, the committee tells the NSA that change is in the wind.
Y 4.J 89/1:113-45

Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) : Part II: Geolocation Privacy and Surveillance

The purpose of this hearing was to determine the proper standard for acquiring geolocation data from cell phone companies either from cell towers or GPS on the phone itself. Both law enforcement and the ACLU weigh in.
Y 4.J 89/1:113-34

Eyes in the Sky: the Domestic Use of Unmanned Aerial Systems

From the Solar Eagle to the RoboBee, unmanned aerial systems present new problems with respect to privacy protections.
Y 4.J 89/1:113-40

DHS Monitoring of Social Networking and Media: Enhancing Intelligence Gathering and Ensuring Privacy

The National Operations Center (DHS) monitors social media and gathers reports on open source media to produce incident reports for distribution to government leaders and private sector partners as needed regarding all kinds of situations requiring a governmental response.
Y 4.H 75:112-68

Electronic Communications Privacy Act (18 USC §2510, et seq.)

This law sets the legal framework for intercepting communications.

Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act

This law requires telecommunication companies to compile certain types of information which may be subpoenaed by law enforcement during a criminal investigation.
47 USC §1001, et seq., see also this FCC page

Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (Electronic Surveillance) (50 USC §1801, et seq.)

The U.S. legal framework for spying on electronic communications of foreigners.

Illinois Government Information
Report on the Use of Eavesdropping Devices During 2011

An annual report summarizing the number of reported eavesdropping devices used by law enforcement personnel in Illinois by county. Statistics include information on location, results, requesting agency, and type of offense.
ILLINOIS 363.252 REPO 2 2011

Legal Information
Electronic Surveillance

This two-volume set offers a thorough overview of the law of electronic surveillance and its historical development.
KF 9670 .C37 1986 v. 1 & 2

Subject Guides