This is a good conversation. It seems to be veering dangerously close to FOIC and crossover, so I hesitate to respond to some of these things. But I am also a big fan of transparency and level playing fields. I am going to respond and hope that I don't cross any lines here.
In order to try to keep this orderly, I will group this by subject.
Monopolization / Techies Running Rampant
As it currently stands, unless a techie gets greedy, they are not going to get caught. Or get caught so rarely that the rewards will always outweigh the risks. I can't think about anything else to say about this that doesn't get into specific IC examples of why this is true.
Techies Getting Caught / Repercussions
@Jameson's statement about a middling solo making a tech pay for running rampant won't happen. Unless...
Serialized hardware would also make it dangerous for techs to resell hardware (if the system is implemented to allow techs / deckers to reset the hardware).
I also suggested a system like Chatter where merchants could hint at who is selling what. This would require a 'bartender' like NPC in each of the markets to 'chat' with. The obvious sprawl on this one is that players will then want to know who is selling (weapons, drugs, armor, etc, etc)
I am not sure if this is really an issue. @Jameson suggests that it is, so I will assume that it is.
I believe that my suggestion to serialize or otherwise mark hardware could address most of this. With serialized hardware, people could search the market for 'their' hardware and buy it back.
Ease of Theft / Running a Network
This is mostly addressed to the points @TalonCzar brought up.
I think that the 'ease' of taking cams down is being overblown. If a high UE tech sets up a cam, the only way it is coming down is if a higher UE tech comes along and takes it down. (This FACT is why monopolization of the field will happen if reprogramming is allowed)
I am going to put out an analogy here that probably isn't perfect, but I think it speaks to where this perception comes from.
A combat character deciding they want a cam network, and getting a skillsoft to setup the network themselves, then complaining about it getting dismantled by a dedicated tech
is kind of like
A middling character running around mugging immigrants with a SpyderCo, and then getting vatted by someone with a ceramic katana. The mugger thought that they were "good" at what they were doing and that they had a good hustle going. Someone better came along and forced them to reassess their strategy.
Ultimately all characters cannot do everything well. Even within a specific niche, there are going to be some characters who are better than others. And nine times out of ten, real skill is going to beat skill chips.
This is less of a summary and more of a continuation of addressing the challenges of setting up and maintaining a surveillance network.
Setting up a network is difficult. The pieces are hard to come by. They are expensive. It requires specialized knowledge, skills and equipment. The network is vulnerable to everything from inexpensive disruption, to outright loss of equipment.
Ultimately a surveillance network is something for powerful individuals and factions. Not everyone is going to be a ceramic katana wielding, Xo5 wearing, Flashboosted killing machine with very little to fear. Not everyone is going to have a well maintained, distributed, resilient surveillance network.
Sindome is about trade offs. If a character is good at one thing, they are not good at something else. At a certain point, the trade offs become significant. That is extremely true for tech characters. A good tech character is going to be extremely vulnerable in combat. A good combat character won't be able to maintain their own surveillance network.
Pick what you want to be good at, and make alliances with people who can do what you can't.
In the grand scheme of things, I don't see a high level tech character being any more imbalanced to the game as a whole than a high level solo. If Faction A persuades Joe MurderHobo to leave Faction B, then the balance of power shifts until Faction A finds someone equally as powerful to replace Joe MurderHobo.
The same thing goes for techs. If Faction A hires Jane TechWiz to exclusively maintain their networks and disrupt everyone else's networks, then well played Faction A. Faction B has the same tools at their disposal to deal with Jane TechWiz as they do with Joe MurderHobo. Find someone equally good, and keep vatting Jane until then so that she's too scared to leave her apartment.