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Surveillance means the hidden watching of someone or thing by any means possible. Police and security forces may put a tap on to a person's telephone line to listen to the person's calls. Intelligence and security agencies are doing it when they put an electronic listening device, a bug, into a room.
Governments and the military have built large facilities designed to listen in to communications between other governments and military groups. For example the U.S. has a large base at Pine Gap near Alice Springs, Australia, which listens to communication signals from all over the world.
Eavesdropping is a similar idea, but refers to ordinary people in normal life. It means listening to things you aren't supposed to hear. It is a deliberate act, rather than simply overhearing someone else talking.
Surveillance is the secret or hidden watching of people or things with a purpose. That purpose may be crime prevention or general gathering of information for a polical purpose. The results of surveillance are sometimes called "intelligence". Surveillance collects information for police, intelligence agencies, military planners or commercial firms.
This may include observation from a distance by means of electronic equipment (such as CCTV cameras), or interception of electronically transmitted information (such as internet traffic or phone calls).
Surveillance may include simple, relatively low-technology methods such as human intelligence agents and postal interception. On the other hand, global surveillance is done by satellite cameras on a daily basis. Such satellites are called "reconnaissance satellite" or spy satellites.
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