NEW YORK—The tiny spy cameras are becoming more popular in the United States these days, according to security expert Randy Andrews. He says it is because they are easy to find and cheap—manufacturers are pre-installing cameras in everyday objects such as speakers, key chains, remote controls, and even shampoo bottles.
Andrews said, “So these tiny hidden spy cameras are almost exclusively made in China. They were initially available on let’s say Alibaba, and then now they’re available everywhere—Amazon, eBay.”
In addition to an app he created to detect hidden cameras—Hidden Camera Detector—he gives tips on how to detect hidden cameras:
“If you’re looking at an object and you wonder, is this clock radio spy camera, or is it just a clock radio. What you want to look for is these tiny pinhole lenses, but sometimes they’re very difficult to see. So turn the device around. If there’s any panels open them up and you’re looking for things like a USB port, or an SD card slot and these SD cards are Storage, they record video.”
Security cameras used to require a person with expertise to install and use, but with the rapid advancement of technology, anyone with 30 dollars and a smartphone can use a hidden camera. This kind of open market for hidden cameras can be dangerous if those with impure intentions get ahold of them.
“Recently, we were even contacted by a young lady who was getting text messages from an ex-boyfriend, saying, I really liked the outfit you’re wearing in detail, and she hadn’t been out of the house yet. So this was an extremely frightening situation for her to realize that, you know, somebody she knew in her past had hidden a spy camera in her home,” said Andrews.
More and more hidden cameras are being discovered in the United States. Currently, the Wisconsin Department of Justice is investigating an incident after East High School students found hidden cameras in their hotel rooms during their field trip to Minneapolis the first weekend in December, according to a report by CBS.
Multiple instances of hidden cameras being found in hotels or Airbnbs have been reported. In December, The Associated Press reported that a woman on vacation at Virginia Beach found a camera in the shower of the Airbnb where she was staying. A woman found a camera in the bathroom on her Southwest Airlines flight in 2017, BBC reported.