Surveillance is the monitoring of the behavior, activities, or other changing information, usually of people for the purpose of influencing, managing, directing, or protecting them. This can include observation from a distance by means of electronic equipment, or interception of electronically transmitted information; and it can include simple, relatively no- or low-technology methods such as human intelligence agents and postal interception. The word surveillance comes from a French phrase for "watching over", and is in contrast to more recent developments such as sousveillance. Surveillance is very useful to governments and law enforcement to maintain social control, recognize and monitor threats, and prevent/investigate criminal activity. With the advent of programs such as the Total Information Awareness program and ADVISE, technologies such as high speed surveillance computers and biometrics software, and laws such as the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, governments now possess an unprecedented ability to monitor the activities of their subjects.