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Research Shows That Sensors Integrated Into Smartphones Can Be Used In Order To Point Out Spy Cameras

Smartphones nowadays have technology that can be utilized in order to identify other, hidden spy cameras.

Truly, this is an example of knowing thyself, if nothing else. Spy cameras obviously have a lot of weight attached to them. While the modern smartphone camera is viewed in the public eye with connotations of social aptitude (group photos, selfies at parties), or a major source of stemming injustice (recordings capturing police brutality and expressions of racism), spy cameras enjoy none of this positive press. One would think that the reasons are obviously associated with spies being considered shifty, dangerous individuals. And sure, that might have a lot to do with it. However, in modern times at least, spy cameras are a relevant threat for a much more different reason: illicit voyeurism.

A YouTube video published by the BBC, featuring reporter Stacey Dooley, has her going through a motel bedroom in South Korea, trying to find as many spy cams as she can. As she unearths an inordinate amount of cameras the narrative becomes very clear: you are not safe. Your private moments are not that private. Your bodily functions, expression of self, social company, private company, all can be jeopardized and even weaponized by some random creep that installed tiny cameras. Ms. Dooley’s search led to her finding cameras hidden within coat hangers, adapters, modems, and even bathroom walls. The video currently stands at over 16.7 million views, and is worrying to say the least. If spy cameras can be purchased and installed with such impunity, what is one to do? Well, in this case, smartphones may yet develop another positive connotation to be associated with.


Many new cameras have a Time of Flight (ToF) sensor added into them, which helps detect whether any other recording objects are within the camera’s vicinity. ToF sensors emit a laser, which bounces off of objects in the vicinity, then upon returning provides data that can be interpreted to decide optimum lighting and other camera settings. However, researchers figured that such technology can also be harnessed in order to locate spy cameras, since the laser reacts abnormally when encountering another lens. The success rate of such tactics is an impressive 90% as well, showing great promise for future implementation of such technology. So, next time you’re hanging out at a foreign AirBnB, maybe it won’t feel all so unsafe.



Read next: DuckDuckGo Is Helping Out Android Users With Its Own Version Of Apple’s Tracking/Transparency Features

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