One of the factors that makes purchasing and using a hidden camera somewhat tricky has to do with laws that vary from state to state. Different jurisdictions have decidedly different opinions about where it is acceptable to use a surveillance device, whether or not you have to notify those being recorded and more. Despite this, the one thing that all 50 states agree on is that there are some places where NOBODY is allowed to use a hidden camera — the restroom among them. People have a reasonable expectation of privacy, even in a public place, and this absolutely extends to bathrooms around the country.
This is also the exact situation that landed one San Jose business owner in hot water. An arts studio owner was recently arrested after the authorities discovered a hidden camera device installed in — you guessed it — the restroom of his property.
San Jose and Hidden Cameras: The Story So Far
Officials from the San Jose Police Department conducted a thorough examination of The Enlightenment Studio — an arts studio located on Toyon Avenue. They had received a number of reports about alleged recording devices on the property, but after their investigation was complete, they learned that the situation was much worse than they had feared.
Not only was a hidden video camera found in the restroom of the art studio, but the storage device inside it contained at least one image of a child under the age of 10 years old.
The owner, 34-year-old El Verde Nguyen, was arrested and charged with setting up a hidden camera in a bathroom for the express purpose of recording children. Additionally, he was charged with a felony attempt to “manufacture child pornography,” as well as one misdemeanor for “disorderly conduct” for the camera itself. Soon after his arrest, he was booked into the local Santa Clara County correctional facility.
The manager of the studio, a man named Anhthu Huynh-Bui, posted a letter to The Enlightenment Studio’s website acknowledging that these events had taken place. It outlined how the studio is currently cooperating with the San Jose Police Department to determine exactly what crimes have been committed. The studio will remain closed for the duration of the investigation. The letter ends by reiterating the fact that “the safety of our students is our top priority.”
Staying Safe in the Digital World
Stories like this one underline a very important fact about the world we’re now living in. For as much as advanced technology makes our lives easier in some ways, it makes it far more dangerous in other ways, too. This is especially true in terms of the weakest among us — children — who should not have to worry about whether or not their privacy is being invaded in ways like this.
El Verde Nguyen may be behind bars, and The Enlightenment Studio may be closed pending a law enforcement investigation… but how many similar situations are there that AREN’T being investigated by police? How many cameras are hidden right now, capturing footage of unsuspecting victims?
When you can purchase a full high-definition camera concealed in an item like a pen or furniture screw for just a few hundred dollars, part of staying protected involves staying proactive as you go about your daily life. If you ever suspect that you or a loved one is being recorded, the first thing you should do is use common sense and think about the areas where a camera would have to be hidden in order to capture footage.
Additionally, if you think that you’re being secretly recorded in a public place, you should absolutely contact local law enforcement about your suspicions. You truly never know when or where a camera might be hidden. We’ve reached the point where suspecting that you’re being recorded isn’t paranoid anymore — these days, you just might be right.