Communications and Privacy under Surveillance

Full paper submission deadline: 1 October 2015
Publication date: March 2016

Computer plans a March 2016 special issue on communications and privacy under surveillance.

Today, our daily communications are subject to surveillance by government agencies and private hackers. The purpose could be legal crime investigation or terrorism prevention, or it could be illegal privacy infringement or theft of confidential information. There are often gray areas between legal and illegal surveillance.

Despite the controversy, communications-surveillance technologies continue to evolve. However, these sensitive technologies have seldom been reported in the scientific literature, as developers have largely subscribed to the idea of “security by obscurity.” Now, though, many realize that surveillance technologies could be improved much faster via “security by clarity,” with the technologies examined by both good and bad guys. This could also reduce the gray area between legal and illegal activities, thereby protecting privacy.

This special issue will foster dissemination of the latest communications and privacy surveillance methodologies. The guest editors’ aim is to publish high-quality articles presenting the state of the art in lawful, mass, wireless, and backdoor surveillance. Appropriate topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Lawful surveillance with RFC 3924
  • Mass and global surveillance programs such as Five Eyes, PRISM, XKeyscore, Tempora, Muscular, and Royal Concierge
  • Wireless surveillance via 4G/3G/GSM, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth with IMSI Catcher, Femtocatch, and Bluejacking
  • Backdoor surveillance by malware on servers, desktops, laptops, smartphones, and tablets via server and browser exploits, repackaged applications, repackaged documents, and advanced persistent threats
  • Surveillance and analysis tools such as Boundless Informant, XKeyscore, Tempora, Tracfin, Visitor Location Registers, A5/1, and Tor
  • Big data analysis on communications-surveillance data, metadata, and multimedia
  • Security and privacy by obscurity vs. security and privacy by clarity
  • Analytical and simulation models of communications and privacy surveillance
  • Network and traffic forensics for surveillance
  • Censorship analysis, detection, and circumvention
  • Policies and regulations regarding legal and illegal surveillance
  • Experimental studies of and testbeds for communications and privacy surveillance

Only submissions that describe previously unpublished, original, state-of-the-art research that are not currently under review by a conference or journal will be considered.

Articles should be understandable by a broad audience of computing science and engineering professionals, avoiding a focus on theory, mathematics, jargon, and abstract concepts. All manuscripts are subject to peer review on both technical merit and relevance to Computer’s readership. Accepted papers will be professionally edited for content and style.


Please direct any correspondence before submission to the guest editors:

Articles are due by 1 August 2015. For author guidelines and information on how to submit a manuscript electronically, visit

Return to Computer's Homepage »

Return to Computer's Calls for Papers »