Surveillance authority is regularly abused, even in many of the most democratic countries. The main targets are political opposition, journalists, and human rights activists. The U.S. government is leading efforts to further relax legal and technical barriers to electronic surveillance. The Internet is coming under increased surveillance.
The largest amount of public surveillance is carried out in the USA by the National Security Agency. Most of the NSA annual budget of approximately $4 billion is allegedly allocated to the procurement of the latest computer and surveillance technology, reputedly capable of intercepting and analysing up to 70% of all telephone, radio, telex and data traffic around the world. As early as 1971 an incinerator with a capacity of 6 tons of paper per hour was required to deal with the 36 tons of paper generated in every 8 hour monitoring shift.