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- The following is excerpted from the page Threats to Democracy. Please feel free to join in the discussion in the talk page.
Modern technology is enabling the deployment of cheap and pervasive surveillance technologies; dropping prices make them affordable to even local police forces. Examples include face-recognition software in airports, automated toll-road booth mechanisms, infrared cameras, and terrahertz "clothes piercing" cameras, not to mention telephone wire-tapping and web-surfing monitoring systems. Ostensibly deployed by police and security forces to help catch criminals, surveillance devices cast a much broader net. Examples include J. Edgar Hoover, Director of the FBI, who used his unique access to sensitive information to blackmail many prominent politicians of the day. Minor examples include a variety of corrupt police cheifs and deputies who have been able to misuse thier power against innocent citizens. Perhaps the grandest deployment of surveillance technologies was by the Soviet Union, which ran a sophisticated domestic spying operation to suppress political speech (dissident speech) by its citizens.