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Old 04-10-2008, 01:54 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Location: Across the way
Covert Surveillance: Hidden Cameras and Microphones

Since I had to move, post-stalker, I've kind of always had this sneaking feeling that I'm always being watched or listened to... and second-guessing people's words and actions, especially men. I get the creeps for no or little reason.

Lately it's been my landlord and flatmates. The other day my landlord came over and was chatting to one of my housemates, and described a specific item of lingerie that I happen to own (I suppose it was probably coincidence or they saw it in my laundry, but it's not a typical everydaywear item), and something else that sounded like a phone conversation I'd had with another friend, and I immediately freaked out and started wondering if someone had sneaked into my room and put tiny hidden cameras or microphones or telephone bugs somewhere, or were sniffing through my underwear drawer. I've hidden my toys much more carefully. I check the bathroom carefully before I shower or even use the toilet, and I don't walk around my room naked or masturbate with my toys any more which I used to love to do in case someone is watching or listening remotely... ironic considering I once did exactly that for money.

Anyway, my question was - are these types of surveillance / spy things easily available? Are they the sorts of things that the average Joe could purchase without too much expense? And most importantly, is there any way to check for their presence in a room? I know I'm being very paranoid here but this would genuinely help me sleep better at night...

Last edited by Sharon; 04-10-2008 at 02:00 AM..
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Old 04-10-2008, 03:33 AM   #2 (permalink)
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You poor thing. I hate it enough that their are cameras everywhere at work. I can't even begin to imagine them in my home.

There are stores everywhere that sell this stuff. And since the nanny cams became available years ago, any Joe Blow can buy them. There are gazillions of sites like this (a random hit, just to show you one).

http://www.spyville.com/

As for hunting them down, I found this:

http://www.4hiddenspycameras.com/ulbugdetzzap.html

But maybe someone knows an easier way to detect these devices?

Anyway, good luck. I don't envy you being in that position.
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Old 04-10-2008, 05:22 PM   #3 (permalink)
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http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,349412,00.html

You're not paranoid if they are actually watching you. But, let's face it, it is extremely unlikely. But it's not impossible. Unless I know you, there is no reason for me to pay the money to get all this spy gear, break the law installing it, and then watch crappy video of you. There is much better stuff on the internet.

The problem is DC power. All video cameras still require power. Unless you are dealing with an unnamed government agency, it is unlikely that they will have the technology to power very small cameras for any length of time inside your house. And if the amateur versions were in your house, you should be able to spot them. Look in the air vents, fire alarms, clock radios, lamps, air cleaners, light fixtures, motion detectors, exhaust fan, floor vents maybe even outlets, etc. Anything that is plugged in makes it a lot easier to conceal a camera in.
http://www.spycentre.com/wireless_video.htm
http://www.discountspyoutlet.com/dev...earchdbdisplay
(I had to go look at my motion detector to see if it was one of those.

The second version is cameras outside your house looking in. But, you have blinds/curtains to reduce their effectiveness.

If I had to guess who the leak is, it would be your housemates. They may have seen something and mentioned it to the landlord earlier or something. Or they are the ones spying on you, not with electronics, but just listening in on stuff.

If you still are paranoid, you can always use your toys under the covers.
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Old 04-10-2008, 08:35 PM   #4 (permalink)
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An amateur wouldn't bug a telephone, because modern telephone are difficult to bug. Old-style pones (with removable mouthpieces) can be, but most modern phones are one-piece moulded plastic.

Hidden cameras are possible, but are difficult to hide effectively in someone else's home; for example, you'd notice if someone replaced your clock radio, or a smoke detector appeared in your bedroom one day. While it's possible that the camera was in place before you moved in, it's not very likely and there's multiple technical hurdles that would need to be dealt with.

In addition, one would rationally think that your landlord isn't going to go to all the trouble and expense of installing hidden surveillance equipment in your home and then blow his cover by bringing up things in conversation. How specific was the subject you were discussing over the phone? It's possible that he was referring to something unrelated and you misinterpreted that in your nervousness. Alternately, it may be as ASU2003 said; perhaps one of your roommates innocently let a couple of things slip?

I'm not going to say that it's impossible that your being watched, just that it's unlikely. There's no reason for your landlord to do so, and it's not as easy as the spy movies make it out to be.
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Old 04-11-2008, 07:37 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martian
An amateur wouldn't bug a telephone, because modern telephone are difficult to bug. Old-style pones (with removable mouthpieces) can be, but most modern phones are one-piece moulded plastic.
Why bug a handset when you can install a tap on at the box outside?

Quote:
Hidden cameras are possible, but are difficult to hide effectively in someone else's home; for example, you'd notice if someone replaced your clock radio, or a smoke detector appeared in your bedroom one day. While it's possible that the camera was in place before you moved in, it's not very likely and there's multiple technical hurdles that would need to be dealt with.
Decent hidden cameras that are very hard to spot only run a few hundred dollars, and can be hidden behind any vent, in any light fixture, even in wall outlets.


There are plenty of things out there to help you find wireless devices, so I won't cover that. To detect wired surveillance devices, an inductive amplifier can be used.
http://www.howtowireahouse.com/Greenlee_08671.html
If you're worried enough to get and use one, learn what sounds different cables make by putting it near a light switch, a wall outlet, the yellow composite video cable from anything you plug into your TV, and the cord going to your computer monitor. The light switch and wall outlet will produce a 60hz hum (50hz if you're in most of the world outside of the US.) The computer cable will produce a distinctive hum with pulsed clicking as the sync burst is sent, and the the composite video cable will produce a similar but distinctly identifiable sound. Analog audio signals will sound exactly like what the microphone is picking up, and battery-powered devices will most likely only produce a detectable video signal (it's not plugged in but the signal has to go somewhere.)

After you get an idea of what each type of signal sounds like, turn lights off, use a window for light, and unplug anything that might produce an erroneous signal. Start by moving the tip of the amplifier wand in circles around suspicious fixtures and vents, varying the angle of the wand to the device and the surface it's mounted on. If you pick up a suspicious signal, move outward in circles from that point, and see if you can find the signature of a wire behind the ceiling or wall. If it acts like a surveillance device (in my time, I've never found an A/C duct that carried a video sync signal) and you can remove it or take it apart, you can guess the next step.

If you're not sure whether something is a genuine find or not, see if someone else's apartment has an identical fixture and check for differences. If you're really paranoid, you can go across walls and ceilings in a 3" grid pattern, to check for cables, but you're more likely to find a cable TV run or your neighbor's phone line if it's an apartment building. If you're really not sure, take a cell video of you testing the suspect area, even if it's a cell phone cam video,) and PM me, I'll take a look at it and help you as much as I can over the Internet.
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Old 04-11-2008, 06:32 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I think a systematic visual inspection of your bedroom, closet, bathroom, and any common area looking for the obvious stuff would be enough. Unless she feels like she is being watched by the government, or someone that was trained by the government, the chances of there being really covert video cameras installed in vents and outlets is rather small. Plug something in each outlet to see if it works (even just getting it into the socket is enough), use a flashlight and chair/ladder to look in vents, and look closely at lamps, radios, clocks and fire alarms. Or anything else plugged in. Even a laptop with a webcam built in could be used.
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Old 04-12-2008, 02:00 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharon
Anyway, my question was - are these types of surveillance / spy things easily available? Are they the sorts of things that the average Joe could purchase without too much expense? And most importantly, is there any way to check for their presence in a room? I know I'm being very paranoid here but this would genuinely help me sleep better at night...
OK, I used to do security checks against covert surveillance, both electrinic and physical for a living, so I can give you some information and tips.

1 - Yes, any fool these days can purchase very good, easy to conceal and install listening devices and cameras that will escape casual inspection.

2 - 99% of the time when people asked me and my company to determine if they were being spied on in such a manner the result was negative.

3 - Having said that, spying by a friend, co-worker, employee or associate using more informal means (reading your mail/e-mail, listening at door, etc) is a relatively common occurrence even if it does not occur with regularity.

4 - Your personal computer is the most likely means of anyone keeping tabs on you today - it is much more common than cameras or microphones. Password protect everything, ensure you have firewalls and virus protection up to date and operative. Log off when not using your machine. Beware using wireless systems if you think you are being spied upon.

5 - You can do a basic physical sweep of a small room yourself - imagine chopping your room into 3 levels from floor to chest height, then chest height to a bit above your head, then from that point to the ceiling. Physically examine each sector one at a time using your eyes first, then your hands. Check all electrical outlets, light fixtures and cable outlets to ensure they work and open them for a quick look see. Take a picture of anything you find unusual and cannot identify and post same here or PM me.

You're probably fine but you probably will sleep better knowing for sure.
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Old 04-12-2008, 06:44 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Thanks for the responses so far guys... I will do some checking. I'm sure it's unlikely that there are spy cameras etc but I don't know... girl intuition tells me something is up. It's really weird that I'm so freaked out by taking a shower when I always thought I had an exhibitionistic nature. I'm reluctant enough to bring a guy home without being self-conscious about my housemates jerking off with an ear to my door. I don't think I've been even semi-naked in front of anyone for months now. Maybe something's wrong with me.
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Old 04-12-2008, 10:45 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martian
An amateur wouldn't bug a telephone, because modern telephone are difficult to bug. Old-style pones (with removable mouthpieces) can be, but most modern phones are one-piece moulded plastic.
Why bother with that when you can pick up everything you need to listen to cell phones at radio shack? Much easier then bugs, and you don't have to risk breaking in to plant them.
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Old 04-13-2008, 05:09 AM   #10 (permalink)
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this one´s for the paranoia thread. sounds like you need to clean your house if there are so many opportunities for hidden cameras. we used to have fun spotting them at work. with a camera the golden rule is if it can see you, you can see it. microphones are possibly harder to detect but like was said earlier, they require power so need to be somewhere accessible. actually there is a phrase i learned a while ago: "people would think less of what others thought of them if they knew how seldom they do."

ps there´s really no need for fancy spy-busting equipment. no-one knows you´re living area better than you do! just be smart about how you look around.
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Old 04-14-2008, 09:15 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seer666
Why bother with that when you can pick up everything you need to listen to cell phones at radio shack? Much easier then bugs, and you don't have to risk breaking in to plant them.
So few people use analog cell phones these days it's unlikely you can spy on a specific target with commercially available equipment.
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Old 04-14-2008, 10:33 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lotsofmagnets
actually there is a phrase i learned a while ago: "people would think less of what others thought of them if they knew how seldom they do."

ps there´s really no need for fancy spy-busting equipment. no-one knows you´re living area better than you do! just be smart about how you look around.
That doesn't negate the fact that all it takes is one wackadoodle to actually do this.

As I am not aware of the situation, when you say, "Since I had to move, post-stalker," I think your fears are pretty natural, not to worry about. Just ease your mind by taken the precautions mentioned. If after taking these precautions you continually feel like you are being watched, then you might have a problem.
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Old 04-15-2008, 11:10 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MSD
So few people use analog cell phones these days it's unlikely you can spy on a specific target with commercially available equipment.
Just means you have to be better at math then you used to.....
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Old 04-16-2008, 03:59 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Digital signals are harder to listen in on. I would bet that there is some level of encryption as well. It's not like internet traffic at an open wifi access point (just get ethereal to see what other people are e-mailing today...)
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