Watch the Watchmen With Anti-Spy Camera Technologies

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$333 for a wireless camera detector? Privacy doens't come cheap.
$333 for a wireless camera detector? Privacy doens't come cheap.

If the growing capabilities of surveillance technology has you feeling paranoid, don’t worry. There are dozens of companies out there ready to sell you nifty gadgets that just might keep others from spying on you. Or, at least, let you know when they are.

Cameras are getting smaller, and it’s a simple thing these days to set up a wireless camera to transmit images to a distant receiver. Luckily for the privacy advocate, you can buy an anti-spy camera scanner that will alert you to the presence of wireless camera signals and help you locate them. Gadget Brando is selling one for $333 that has a small TFT LCD screen (2.3in), covers a broad spectrum of frequencies (900-2700 MHz), and handles all the popular signal systems (PAL, NTSC, CCIR, EIA). It can even run for 3.5 hours on a single set of AA batteries.

What if the camera that’s watching you day and night (and reading your mind through the tinfoil hat) is wired? Well then you need a camera-lens detector. China-Grabber has one for around $70. Just look through the viewing port while it shines bright LEDs. The glint from a lens will (supposedly) pop right out and alert you to where the camera is hidden.

A lens detector uses bright LEDs to help you spot a glint off a hidden camera.
A lens detector uses bright LEDs to help you spot a glint off a hidden camera.

And if you just don’t want anything spying on you at all, you need a jammer. Of dubious legality, jammers block all transmitted signals for a variety of devices. China Vision will sell you one for $133 that blocks GPS, WiFi, wireless cameras, cell phones, and blue tooth devices. Heck, even if you’re not paranoid, you may want a jammer just to provide some peace and quiet. Still, you really need to check your local, state, and federal regulations before trying to buy one of these things. Not FCC approved by any means.

Ahh, the jammer. SciFi mainstay and privacy security-blanket. Also totally illegal in many places.
Ahh, the jammer. SciFi mainstay and privacy security-blanket. Also totally illegal in many places.

The truth is, though, that governments, global corporations, and private citizens are all taking advantage of improving surveillance technology. Even the most cautious people are going to have to acclimate themselves to a change in the concepts of privacy. Smarter software is going to drastically ramp up the effectiveness of video monitoring. Say you could stop people from looking at you, projects like Indect in Europe are going to be sifting through vast quantities of online information and learning about you that way. Most people, I think, are going to have to find a way to adapt to this new level of surveillance with non-human mass scale filtering. Others will seek out privacy technologies to counter-act the new monitoring techniques. May the best side win.

And remember: it’s not paranoia if everyone is out to get you.

[photo credits: Gadget Brando, ChinaVision, ChinaGrabber]