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Have reason to be suspicious of a partner or employer? Feel that someone is watching you, perhaps with a hidden camera?
You could discover the truth if only you had some way of detecting the presence of a hidden camera. Fortunately, apps are available to help you find hidden surveillance cameras using just your smartphone.
Ready to find those secret cameras?
You Are Being Watched
Someone is watching you. This is pretty much irrefutable in the post-Snowden era. But digital surveillance of emails and telephone records is a little less hair-raising than someone actually observing your movements via a hidden surveillance camera.
It’s unlikely that you have never been filmed out in public. You’ll have been caught on CCTV or in the distance on a TV news report.
Over the years it has become less surprising as we’ve become more accepting of closed-circuit cameras, security cameras, etc.
But what about closer to home? Are you comfortable with surveillance cameras in the office, development room, bathrooms, and dressing rooms? Or are these places where you wouldn’t normally expect to find a camera watching your every move?
Without being made aware of such surveillance in advance, you could find yourself being recorded, your movements and actions tracked, judged, and no doubt misinterpreted.
This intrusion might be performed using professionally manufactured security cameras, or custom built ones. You might even use a Raspberry Pi to build your own security camera. It might even be an old smartphone or tablet, re-purposed for hidden observation.
Smartphones Can Detect Hidden Cameras
While it might seem like something straight out of a James Bond movie, it is possible to use your smartphone to detect hidden cameras, as well as other 007 devices. In general, two common methods are used to achieve this.
The first is by using the smartphone hardware to detect electromagnetic fields. With the installation of a single app, you can move your phone around the area you suspect a camera to be hidden, and if a strong field is detected, you can be sure there is a camera secreted within the wall or object.
Another way that smartphones can be used is by detecting light reflecting from a lens. While this method isn’t quite as reliable, it is still worth having such an app, if only to find small objects dropped on a carpet!
Using Android or iOS to Find a Hidden Camera
You’ll find apps for both major smartphone platforms available in the respective app stores. For iPhone, the $4.99 Hidden Camera Detector is the best option,
Download: Hidden Camera Detector for iOS ($4.99)
Meanwhile Android users should consider Hidden Camera Detector. You can also check out Glint Finder for visible lens detection.
Remember that other options are available. If you have access to an infrared camera, for instance, this should detect a hidden camera, while low-cost devices using wireless networking may well appear in the list of nearby Wi-Fi devices in your home.
If you’re particularly concerned, you might also consider a $130 piece of RF detection hardware, capable of reading the signals broadcast by traditional wireless cameras, as demonstrated here:
Finding Hidden Surveillance Cameras With a Phone
Whichever app you choose, you’ll be able to detect cameras and speakers, perhaps even hidden computers.
They generally work in the same way: proximity to a camera or other surveillance device is displayed, giving you an idea as to where it is.
For example, we used the Hidden Camera Detector. Ready to use when you load the app, it displays a red glow when the smartphone is in the proximity of a camera.
The scanner will also glow near other types of hardware, so watch the number displayed in the middle of the screen. This will exceed 100 when a camera is detected.
For added camera detection magic, Hidden Camera Detector also features an IR mode (limited to portrait orientation) with which you can find cameras that have so far eluded you.
This is done by pointing the smartphone at an area where a camera might be hidden and looking for a bright white disc. The disc indicates the presence of a hidden camera.
Effective Detection of Cameras
Note that when using these apps, you should first be sure that you know what technology is in the room. TVs, computers, smart assistants (such as the Amazon Echo) and other hardware can interfere.
However, it will also help if you hold the phone correctly. You might initially think that holding the device flat (like a remote control) will give better results. Where the sensors are placed within your phone will affect this. A bit of practice will help you get the best angle.
If you’re still having trouble, remove the phone from the case. Some case materials can block signals from other devices, as well as disrupt the phone’s own radiation field. Removing the phone from the case briefly should give you faster, more accurate results.
What to Do When You Find a Hidden Camera
It’s all very well knowing that a hidden surveillance camera is watching you, supposedly without your knowledge. But what should you do about it? Well, you could always take it to a higher authority, but in the meantime, you might wish to act to protect against spying.
Note, however, that the problem with this is as soon as you do this, you may well alert the observer to your realization.
However, if you’re determined to be seen, you should employ things like masking tape or adhesive putty to cover the lens, or conduct affairs beyond the camera’s viewing angle. For cameras possibly hidden high up, in lightbulbs or smoke detectors, staying out of sight can be difficult.
Meanwhile, don’t forget that these tips are for everyone, and could be used against you. For example, you might be interested in purchasing your own security cameras and even use hidden cameras to check on your babysitter.