Satellite imagery, terrestrial video cameras, and microphones are certainly the most obvious forms of remote surveillance instruments, but they aren't the only kind. Highly precise scientific instruments are increasingly being applied to widespread terrestrial surveillance.
International agreements seeking to limit or end the arms race invariably call for increased monitoring of our planet. One of the best examples is the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, signed by President Clinton at the United Nations on September 24, 1996. This treaty, the result of a 40-year battle to stop the testing of nuclear weapons, calls for the creation of a sophisticated International Monitoring System to watch the planet for small nuclear explosions that would be in violation of the treaty.
The monitoring system consists of primary and auxiliary seismic networks, a radionucleotide monitoring network , a hydroacoustic network, an infrasound network, and onsite inspections of nuclear facilities. The seismic network is designed to detect explosions that produce man-made "earthquakes" with a magnitude of 4.25 or more on the Richter scale, and to be able to pinpoint those explosions within 1,000 square kilometers (a circle with a radius of 18 kilometers, or 11 miles). For comparison, the relatively small 10-kiloton nuclear weapon test conducted by China on July 29, 1996 had a magnitude of 5.2.
Who will operate this network? Scientists who are already monitoring the ...