Telecommunication is the use or application of telecommunication technologies that are based on the transmission of signals over a distance, either by wire or wireless. It includes various types of fixed, mobile, and portable two-way radios, cellular telephones, personal digital assistants (PDAs), and wired and wireless computer networks.

Telecommunications also encompasses short-range communication systems for line-of-sight delivery as well as radio astronomy. A global standard for telecommunications technology called International Telecommunication Union - Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R) divides telecommunication into several sectors.

One of the main issues in telecommunication is its terminology. For example, landline telephone systems are referred to as "circuit-switched" because they carry electrical signals around the circuit of the telephone system. On the other hand, mobile phone systems are called "packet-switched" because the information is broken up into packets before it reaches its destination through a cellular network or other types of wireless networks.

Another important issue is security and privacy which became more relevant after Edward Snowden's National Security Agency (NSA) revelations in 2013. The NSA has been involved in widespread surveillance, industrial espionage, and cyber warfare both at home and abroad with much controversy surrounding these actions. Many countries now regard cybersecurity as more important than defense whereas others question how significant this is compared to other risks.

The definition of telecommunication has evolved over the years and thus changed its meaning drastically depending on usage.

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