With the latest hidden camera scandal hitting the headlines, we hear a lot about hidden cameras in hotels and trial rooms. Obviously, such news trigger paranoia. What’s worse is the circulation of false information over WhatsApp and Facebook. Take for instance, this message I received in the morning — “Please don’t use Trial room of FabIndia there are pinhole cameras to make MMS of young girls. So, please forward to all girls. Also forward to all boys who have sisters and girlfriends. Don’t be shy in forwarding this message. Because it’s about protecting the integrity of all girls & ladies”
Let’s start believing that big names have more than just reputation at stake to use such gimmicks and start looking at how do we detect the reality of a hidden camera being present at all.
Firstly, there’s no scientific evidence of light modulated signals of fibre optics having any significant effect on cell phone’s electromagnetic signal. Why would anyone use optical fibre for a hidden camera is also beyond me. Most of the times, bad network coverage is the reason behind inability to connect.
Thankfully, there are better ways to detect prying eyes. I’ll mention easiest and the most practical ones here:
Surveillance cameras use Infrared illuminators to enhance images. IR is something your eyes cannot see. However, a digital camera, the one found on your smartphone does the trick. If you are suspicious about a room, turn off the lights, start your smartphone camera, and scan the room for bright spots or lines. Especially, look near mirrors, plug points, and smoke detectors.
If you don’t know how IR light looks on camera, point your TV/AC remote at your camera viewfinder. This works with almost any phone except from the iPhone 5S and above. Apple filters out Infrared in its latest phones.
Some genius perverts use two way mirror to intrude privacy. In this case, the easiest way to detect a shady mirror is to check whether it is hung or set inside a wall. If you are seeing gap between the mirror’s back and a wall, there’s nothing to worry about.
Even if it is set inside the wall, don’t throw that chair on it yet. It could simply be an aesthetic decision. Tap on the mirror for a few times. Doing so on a regular mirror will produce flat sound. On the other hand, a two-way mirror will sound sharp and hollow. Confused? Just tap on your normal mirror and window, and you will know the difference.
If it sounds hollow, you have a reason to worry. In a two-way mirror, those on the bright side see a reflection, while the perv on dark side gets to see through. So yes, turn-off all the lights and hold a torchlight against the mirror. This will light-up the other side (if it exists). Get close to the mirror and see if you can spot anything unusual.