Watch Out for Hidden Cameras While Shopping
By Robert McMillen, Koin’s Tech Guru
We love our technology, most of the time. Cell phones with cameras and video have been a tremendous help in catching criminals and creating a whole new generation of internet reporters. You might even be able to make a few bucks if you’re in the right place at the right time.
But using these devices for good isn’t the only purpose. The bad guys get to use them as well. You would hope that most shopping malls have figured out how to secure their dressing rooms and bathrooms from creepy hidden cameras, and that is most likely the case. There is one type of hidden camera that is a lot more difficult to protect against, especially in a crowded location.
Last Saturday night in Fort Wayne, Indiana, a story emerged that has reached national levels and tells us about this new threat and about the accused man named David Delagrange. Delagrange used a special type of camera that can be mounted on his shoe. The camera is so small it can barely be detected, unless you know what you’re looking for. It picks up both video and audio and sends it to a flash drive in his pocket for later retrieval.
Delagrange would then walk up to women and girls and slide his camera shoe under their dresses to take video while the victims had no idea it was happening. In a crowded location this is probably very easy, especially in a bus or on a train. In this case it was more obvious because it wasn’t as crowded, and it raised suspicion.
When confronted by security officers, he resisted arrest and was thankfully tased into submission. Delagrange has been charged with voyeurism, resisting arrest and felony child exploitation. How many of us would have paid to line up with our tasers to get our shots in?
How easy is it to get a hidden camera? I did a search and instantly found more than just a simple shoe cam. I found tiny video cameras for eyeglasses, a tissue box, an alarm clock, a lighter, a watch, a keychain, a pen, and even a can of soda. They run, on average, around $150. No permits are needed, although some of the websites try to protect themselves by making you click an agreement that you won’t do this in any illegal way. (If you’re about to do something illegal, would you say that you were?)
So, what do these guys do with these videos? Well, I’m sure they were for personal use when it all started, but now this industry makes big money. The terminology for it is called “upskirt videos.” I did a search for this and came up with a whopping 8.5 million sites!
Most of the sites appeared to be infected with viruses embedded in the pictures, so at least there is some justice for the people who visit them. But this does shed light on an entire industry that has flown under the radar for quite some time.
How do you keep all this from happening? The most obvious protections can help in many cases. Keep your eyes and ears open for people getting in your personal space, but there is an electronic option as well. Most hidden cameras are wireless and therefore put out a wireless signal. The closer they are to you, the stronger the signal. An RF spy camera detector can be purchased to warn you when these cameras get within your range and they cost around $75. If you want to be able to detect both wireless and wired cameras, then you have to spend a little more money, but the extra features may be worth it. For $280 you can get a miniature laser device that scans the room for hidden cameras. It sends out pulses of light and locates any camera lens that responds back to it. After giving away its location, you can alert security or just rip the camera out yourself. You can buy them both at dynaspy.com.
Being alert is still your best defense against any kind of intrusion, but it’s good to know about the threats that are out there. I’ll do what I can to keep you informed and up to date on all of them.
For great tips, check back here each week and listen to me on the All Tech Radio show at 9:00 Sunday mornings on AM 1360 KUIK, or listen online at http://alltechradio.com.
To buy my latest book “How to be an IT Administrator,” go to http://howtobeanitadministrator.com/
If you would like your technical question answered here, just email firstname.lastname@example.org. Even if it doesn’t get answered in the column, I will always answer by email.