What worlds/areas have significant video surveillance systems in the Star Wars universe?

This question is mainly posted due to the dearth of such surveillance in the original trilogy:

  • Mos Eisly doesn't have any (probably due to lack of resources)
  • The Death Star doesn't obviously have effective video surveillance of its interior (???)
  • There might be some in Bespin, but it was never played up as having significant role in the outcome there,
  • There were sentries outside the shield generating station on Endor, but not apparently any video surveillance devices,
  • etc.

Basically I'm unaware of any instances where video surveillance technologies were directly applied to stop/interfere with any kind of "unlawful" activities in this fictional setting (though I'm not too familiar with all of the EU). So I'm wondering if there is a good in-universe description of places where widespread (video) surveillance techologies were used in the Empire (or before or after), and what technological or societal factors imposed constraints on the widespread use of surveillance technologies.

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    What are you basing this on? We see holo-recordings of events during the prequel films, as well as mention of secure communication channels and transmissions being jammed. – phantom42 Feb 3 '15 at 14:56
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    One of the missions in SWTOR is to repair surveillance cameras at a prison. – Valorum Feb 3 '15 at 15:06
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    Uh, we're fine here, now. How are you? – KSmarts Feb 3 '15 at 15:49
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    You want to know why the heroes didn't keep getting caught on security cameras all the time? This is Star Wars, not Mission Impossible. Luke was too busy learning to become a Jedi to learn how to become a master spy. – Daft Feb 3 '15 at 17:16
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    There were at least some cameras on the Death Star. Luke and Han shoot them out when they enter the detention cell. – phantom42 Feb 3 '15 at 19:10

Coruscant did certainly have a significant surveillance presence, the CSF. But many of the mention of surveillance in Star Wars novels (there are few mentions in the films) refer to surveillance or police droids, though surveillance "cameras" do exist, being known as Holocams. They were certainly not rare, as we see many instances of them, and Iella Antilles was quoted as saying in a comic:

Holocams are like bureaucrats. They're everywhere. Can't escape them, so you ignore them.

One of the most obvious mentions of surveillance appears in Revenge of the Sith:

Obi-Wan finds the truth about Anakin

There were plenty of security cameras around the Jedi Temple, and they also makes appearances in numerous Star Wars novels.

I'll give a few examples of surveillance being mentioned in Star Wars novels (all from Lucas canon, with the exception of A New Dawn, which is part of the new Disney canon):

"I have a ping on Cynda cam five-six-oh," the operator in the second row said. "Threat to the Empire in spoken Basic. Elevator cam. Thirty-eight decibels, clearly intoned."


The surveillance supercomputers had comprehended the statement, measured it against mysterious metrics, and kicked the incident up to the Mynocks, who'd taken it to her.

Ten minutes later Tahiri's StealthX was under guard in a sealed hangar, and she was sitting in front of a vid display. On the display was a four-day-old vid that showed Boba Fett


Fett was taking care to stay close to other armored figures and avoid some of the security cams, but he coulddn't afford to be too obvious. any conspicuous attempt to avoid surveillance in an Imperial population center - even one as rustic as Hagamoor City - only drew extra scrutiny. As Tahiri watched, the Mandalorian visited a succession of hospitality houses and supply businesses. The Imperial surveillance net did not extend to the interior of most facilities

One thing casinos usually had in abundance was surveillance, and Marvid loved surveillance. He could measure the intelligence of his subjects by how long it took them to start acting as though the vidcams were not recording.

He'd even carefully selected his target - a spot just below the surveillance cams mounted on the side of the windowless ODCC building. Now he was just waiting for Gnost-Dural to do his part.

The citywide blackout would temporarily disable the surveillance cams, but it would only take a few seconds for the auxiliary generators to ramp up and get them working again. Theron would have to act fast if he didn't want to be seen breaking in;

So as you can see there are a number of instances of Star Wars societies using cameras or other surveillance equipment to stop or record undesirable behavior. It did appear to be more common in Imperial settings (both Galactic Empire, Imperial Remnant, and Darth Caedus' Galactic Alliance Guard), though even the Jedi recorded significant amounts of data. We also see plenty of instances of private individuals guaring their wealthy estates with surveillance equipment in novels like Scoundrels. There are numerous examples you can find online with a search like this one.

As far as what technological or societal factors imposed constraints on the widespread use of surveillance technologies, there does not appear to be any real technological factors, as they appear to be pretty widespread, and indeed they seem to be the norm, implying societal factors were a nonexistent or minor issue because of widespread use.

Of interest to note is the fact that some Force users possessed the ability to blind holocams with a Force Flash, appearing as a malfunction but merely bypassing the surveyed area. This force power is used frequently throughout the Legacy of the Force and Fate of the Jedi* series of novels.

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