n. A form of countersurveillance in which people watch and record the activities of monitoring devices and other surveillance-related equipment and personnel.
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The science and technology of surveillance extends beyond electronics and nanotech to sociology. For example, surveillance has spawned a low-level popular response called "sousveillance," whose self-assigned role is to "out the cams."

In Manhattan, a cheerful group of anarchists called the NYSCP (New York Surveillance Camera Players) detects hidden eyes on sign poles and light standards, then mugs before them in an attempt to embarrass their human monitors. Unfortunately, this may defeat the NYSCP's aim of discombobulating the human component of surveillance: Anything that relieves the tedium of staring at monitors probably pleases the watcher.
—William Illsey Atkinson, “They're watching you,” The Globe and Mail, September 13, 2005
Steve Mann, a professor at the University of Toronto, calls the spread of citizen surveillance "sousveillance" — because most cameras no longer watch from above, but from eye level. Instead of being on top of buildings and attached to room ceilings, cameras are now carried by ordinary people.
—“Move over, Big Brother,” The Economist, December 04, 2004
2001 (earliest)
In my new book (published through Randomhouse, Doubleday, with link from I introduce the notion of sousveillance (inverse surveillance).
—Steve Mann, “Steve Mann and Surveil. Cam Players on how to watch the watchers,” politech, November 08, 2001
The sous in sousveillance is French for "under", making this the opposite of surveillance (the sur in surveillance is French for "over"), as reflected in the synonym inverse surveillance). University of Toronto professor Steve Mann calls it "watchful vigilance from underneath." ) It's a kind of countersurveillance where people take pictures of surveillance cameras or record people in positions of power or authority and post those recordings on the Web. Think of it as the watched watching the watchers, and that can only be a good thing. If you think so too, be sure to celebrate World Sousveillance Day on December 24.
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