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OTHER ITA SITES:
Are Hidden Cameras Watching You Right Now
I was enjoying a meal with my wife the other day at a local restaurant. After we ate, we decided to sit at the bar and have a drink while watching the local band play a few numbers. As I looked around at the small crowd of people, I couldn’t help but wonder if there were any hidden surveillance cameras in the bar. (Being in the hidden camera industry, I tend to be a little paranoid about being watched)
But this time my paranoia was justified. As I glanced over at the display of liquor bottles on the shelf, there it was, a dark bottle of wine with a small hole not much bigger than a pencil eraser right in the side of the bottle.
I leaned forward and gave a little smile, then I waved, and then I stuck my tongue out at the bottle. After a few minutes of my peculiar behavior, the manager came over to ask me if I was O.K. When I explained that I was just showing off for the camera, he seemed clearly surprised that I knew it was there. When I explained what I did for a living, he gave me a perceptive nod of his head and asked if I would please not tell anyone else about the hidden camera. “It’s there for security purposes” he said “just to keep an eye on things”. I agreed not to let his secret out, and the free drinks he gave to my wife, and me sealed the deal. I wasn’t going to say anything.
While it was easy to spot cameras twenty or thirty years ago due to their large size, this has become increasingly difficult in recent years. Cameras have become much smaller and consume a fraction of the power that they did just a few years ago. Due to this, hidden cameras can be installed in nearly any place you can imagine.
Hidden cameras are easy to use, readily available, and the dropping prices are making them very affordable. In fact hidden cameras can be purchased, installed and operated even by the average citizen these days.
Hidden cameras are very easy to hide due to the fact that the basic unit is generally nothing more than a CCD (Charge Coupled Device) “board camera”. A board camera is a camera fully contained on a single circuit board including camera optics and all the electronics needed for generating the video signal. Board cameras range in size but on the average they are approximately 1½ X 1½ inches, which makes them very easy to hide in even the most inconspicuous places. Most of these board cameras only need an opening of about 1mm in their hiding places for complete room surveillance. From there, the video signal can be sent to the receiver and either watched in real time or recorded for later viewing, or both.
Another type of camera that has shown up more recently is based on CMOS technology. CMOS cameras are gaining ground with consumer products such as handheld devices, photo capable cell phones, and webcams.
Miniature CMOS cameras usually come as modules packaged in small plastic cases, and are about half the price of CCD cameras, less sensitive to electrical distortions and consume far less power. They can also be built much smaller than CCD cameras. CMOS cameras have disadvantages as well. CMOS cameras are not as light sensitive, which mean that the image quality is not as good under low light conditions.
Another disadvantage is the lower picture quality in general, as the individual pixels can be quite noisy. Technology is catching up with this issue though, and CMOS cameras are likely to supersede CCD cameras within the next few years.
Due to the small size of these imaging devices, they can be placed into compact everyday items such as alarm clocks, wall clocks, and even small kitchen appliances can house a hidden camera.
To make a long story short, miniature cameras are small, very small, and they can be hidden in more places than you could ever possibly imagine looking for them. So the next time you’re out at a restaurant, or in a business meeting, or even at a friend’s house, look around and ask yourself, am I being watched? Or maybe just paranoid?
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