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Surveillance and Security Gadgets
With all the attention being paid to Google Glass and privacy concerns and who is spying on whom these days, it reminded us it was time to catch up on the latest gadgets that you can use to keep an eye on things, or used by someone else to keep an eye on you. Every time we look into this category we come away with mixed feelings. On the one hand, these gadgets are somewhat fascinating devices but on the other hand, they are rather disturbing. Devices like these seem to make it so easy for anyone to spy on anyone else but that doesn’t necessarily mean they have to be used in a devious way. In any case, it’s a good idea to be aware of these devices that might be lurking in your vicinity and if you plan on using one yourself, just remember there are laws in place that limit their use.
Cameras Disguised as Ordinary GadgetsThey call them nannycams but they could just as easily keep an eye on anything in your house. One common disguise is a clock radio like the iShot 2.0 Alarm Clock DVR Nanny Cam which got the top spot on Top Ten Reviews list of nannycams. These devices typically have motion-activated recorders that store videos or stills to SD cards that can be read by a computer. You’ll also find them disguised as wall clocks, smoke detectors and lots of other devices you’d never suspect.
You can buy spycams in the form of many day-to-day items from everything to calculators to belt buckles. The next time you see someone wearing a smiley face button take a close look at the eye on the button to make sure there isn’t a lens behind it.You can also buy a video camera disguised as a key fob or even a belt buckle. Most of these spycams disguised as other items take high resolution videos or stills and are relatively inexpensive.
This Watch and Pen Do Double DutyFor just under $30 you can get a waterproof spy watch that looks like a Timex sports watch with 4GB of storage that can take high resolution stills or 1280 x 960 video. There are also plenty of “pencams” like this one from DHgate that you can buy for around $20.
Wireless Pinhole Cameras Are Easy to HideFor less than $40 you can buy a wireless color camera that is barely largely than the size of your thumb. It comes with a receiver that most users say works well if it’s in the same room but not much further. Don’t expect great audio and video quality either but for the price it would probably get the job done, whatever job that is.
Add a SIM Card for Instant ListeningOne of the easiest ways to make a remote listening device is to take the SIM card from a cell phone, add it to one of these devices, dial the number and start listening. This device, available for around $116 from Spymode, is small enough to go unnoticed and has two microphones for better audio sensitivity. You can call it to hear what it’s picking up or have it call you when it detects sound.
Some of these GSM-based devices come built into something that can be plugged into the wall so they are not constrained to battery power. For example, you may never look at a power strip the same way after you realize it could be spying on you. For less than $50, you can buy a functioning power strip that can also take calls and transmit nearby conversations. For something more discrete megalaseruk offers a power adaptor along with lots of other GSM “bugs.” You can also buy a GSM-equipped mouse that has a rechargeable battery so it will still work when the computer is turned off.
GPS Locating Devices
These small devices can be used to track a pet, a package or one of your children. They combine a GPS and cell phone in a very small package that can report its position back to you directly or through a service. The $169 Brickhouse Spark Nano GPS Tracker came out on top in Top Ten Reviews GPS Tracker list. They liked the long battery life and web interface but you’ll have to pay $29.95 a month for the service. If you’d prefer to use your own SIM card and avoid paying for a tracking service, you can get a device like the TK-102 Mini GPS Tracker for $129 that gets good marks for GPS accuracy but low marks for ease of use.
Spy vs. Counter Spy
As difficult it can be to notice some of these spy gadgets, there are some devices you can use to help detect them. BrickHouse Security offers a Mini Hidden Camera Detector for around $100 that uses light reflected off a camera lens to detect hidden cameras. BrickHouse also sells a 6GHz Personal Bug Detector that can pick up signals from wireless bugging devices.

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