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Surveillance, Security, and Gadget Roundup – 6/27

27 Jun

Another Friday, another roundup. Here it is, our newest, freshest roundup yet.

1. Police Need A Warrant for Cell Phone Searches

In a landmark decision,  protection for cell phone searches have been expanded. The Supreme Court has determined that the police need a search warrant to go through the cell phone of someone that has been arrested.

2. Now the Police Are Hacking Us Too?

A look into how law enforcement has expanded it’s use of hacking phones and computers.

3. US Government Releases It’s First Transparency Report

A not-quite illuminating look at what the NSA has been up to in 2013.

4. US House Overwhelmingly Votes to Cut NSA Funding

In a strong show against the NSA’s application of past funding, the House of Representatives has voted to cut the agencys generous budget.

5. Popular Websites’ Password Policies Leave Consumers Exposed

A look into the why popular websites password policies are invitations for online fraud.

6. Study: 14 Percent of Debit Cards Exposed by Breaches in 2013

Even with all the recent media attention to data breaches it is still somewhat of a shock that a new study estimates that 14% of U.S. debit cards were exposed to data breaches in 2013.

7. Android Wear brings Google to life

Do you really need or want wearable Android in your life? I’ll leave that answer up to you.

8.  Israel Is Building a Futuristic Transit System of Magnetic Pod

It may not fall in line with what we generally post, but honestly, is this not the coolest thing you have heard about all week?

A Guide to Hiding your Hidden Camera

18 Jun

Where to Place your Camera:

One of the most important thing to keep in mind while hiding your hidden camera  is that placement should follow motivation, meaning that the best place for your hidden camera, is one that best addresses the motivation you had for buying the camera in the first place.

Most of us buy a hidden camera with some idea of how and what we would like to record. Your reasons for buying a hidden camera could be specific, like confirming that your neighbor has been abducting your garbage cans for his own nefarious purposes, or more general, as in making sure your nanny behaves herself around the kids.

In either case, the motivation you had for purchasing a hidden camera determines your ideal placement option. To catch your neighbor, put your recording device in the garage, in range of the garbage cans. If you are worried about the nanny, use a nanny cam in the rooms your kids spend the most time in, perhaps the nursery, living room, or kitchen.

Where to Hide your Camera:

Now that you have an idea what area inside or outside of your house you would like to record, your next step is to find the perfect hiding spot for your camera, but a couple of questions come to mind: Where exactly should you place your hidden camera? What should you hide your camera in or around? How big or small should the camera be?

The guiding principle you need to keep in mind while considering these questions is that a hidden camera can only be effective if it does exactly what its name implies: stays hidden. While you can buy a general purpose hidden camera, one that is small, has great video quality, and gives you a quite a bit of versatility, it will never completely blend into its surroundings. In order to do that, you need to purchase a camera seamlessly built into a common household item.

The advantage of these cameras is that they look nothing like surveillance cameras, allowing them to be naturally positioned throughout the house in the recording location of your choice. The most appropriate cameras, and the ones least likely to draw attention, will come in the form of something natural to the room or location you want to record.

While you know your household items better than I do, here are some hidden camera suggestions that should blend naturally into just about anyone’s home:

Kitchen: What kitchen would be complete without a coffeemaker? Household plants and wall clocks are other kitchen staples.

Coffee Machine Camera

Coffee Machine Camera

Living Room: A smoke detector is the perfect cover for a camera, while no one would think to look closely at the clothes hook on the wall or the tissue box on the table.

Tissue Box Hidden Camera

Tissue Box Hidden Camera

Office: With all of your tech toys and tools on full display, no one would look twice at the WiFi router, AC adapter, or digital picture frame.

Digital Picture Frame Camera

Digital Picture Frame Camera

Bedroom: What is more natural in a bedroom than a bedside clock radio, less noticeable than a power outlet, or more ubiquitous than an Ipod dock?

Mini Clock Radio Hidden Camera

Mini Clock Radio Hidden Camera

Use these household items and placement ideas to think of other hidden cameras built into objects that naturally appear in your house or, if you prefer, to camouflage a more general purpose hidden camera.

Surveillance, Security, and Gadget Roundup

7 Jun

It’s Friday, and that means it’s time for our newly inaugurated Surveillance, Security, and Gadget Roundup, where we bring you the week’s news that caught our eyes:

1. Vodafone Reveals Existence of Secret Wires That Allow State Surveillance

It’s a little sad that the biggest surprise in this article, is that it’s a surveillance article that hardly even mentions the NSA (shocking, right?). Anyways, apparently one of the largest mobile phone groups, Vodafone, has revealed the widespread usage of secret wires that allow government agencies to listen to all conversations on its networks.

2. Our 1st Snowden Anniversary

An interesting compilation of views on what has and hasn’t changed one year after Edward Snowdens revelations.

3. Seven Digital Deadly Sins

A strange and fascinating collaboration by the National Film Board of Canada and The Guardian on the seven deadly sins superimposed on our modern, digital lifestyles. It’s definitely worth taking a look at, if not for the content, then for the fabulously interactive display.

4. Her Name is Cortana

Microsoft’s take on Siri and Google Now. For once, Microsoft seems to have put some thought into a product. Bravo.

5. Explaining Self-Driving Cars

A pretty thorough rundown of all you need to know about self-driving cars.

6. Growing Your Client Base 

One P.I.’s take on the right way to grow your client base. Whether you are a private investigator or own a business in a completely different industry, Brian Willingham’s experience and advice is remarkably adaptable.

7. Marketing (or not)

Don’t ever confuse marketing for what you are marketing; a great product product or service.

Surveillance, Security, and Gadget Roundup

3 Jun

Here at Spy Tec, we are always thinking of new ways to better serve and inform our customers, and the security community as a whole. With that in mind, we have reestablished our blogging efforts in an attempt to communicate important and engaging news  and stories that appeal to those who frequent our site and business. In an attempt to keep our audience ever informed, we have renewed our focus on the latest in industry news, tech breakthroughs, and the products that have drawn our interest and will certainly command yours. The roundup of this week’s top news is sure to grab your attention as much as it did ours:

1. US Cyber-crime Laws Being Used to Target Security Researchers

An interesting take from the Guardian on why U.S. cyber crime laws and the regulators that enforce them, are counter-intuitively weakening the security of the internet.

2. The Secrets of Surveillance

An introspective piece in Pursuit Mag, featuring one PIs take on the most important features of good surveillance.

3. 7 Tools and Recommendations for Social Media Investigations

A great summary of some tools and recommendations you can use to leverage social media in your investigations.

4. Most Americans Are Doing Nothing to Protect Their Privacy

Every week it seems like another corporations has sprung some a data leak, but as this article explains, the American public isn’t doing much to protect its online security either.

5. Google’s Right to be Forgotten

A first take at how Google is responding to the European Union court ruling that it must provide an option to delete personal data.

6. NASA Uses Smart Sandals to Stop Astronauts Exercise Cheating

It goes to show you that even astronauts, like the rest of us, may occasionally exaggerate their exercise habits.

Five Dash Cam Videos You Have To See To Believe

27 May

Dashboard cameras are an increasingly popular purchase for American drivers. The motivation for buying a dash cam may vary, but the fact is that the increasing affordability of dash cameras (with quality models starting at less than 100$), along with their oversight of young drivers and contested automobile accidents, make them an increasingly appealing buy.

The use of dash cams may be growing here in the U.S., but their use is quite established in many places abroad. In countries rife with auto-insurance scams, corrupt traffic cops, and astonishingly reckless driving, the video evidence provided by a dashboard camera is often the only proof backing a driver’s claims.

In Russia in particular, the widespread use of dash cams along with a total disregard for driving laws, or even basic common sense, have provided the world with some unbelievable driving footage you have to see to believe:


1. Half-Naked and Running For It

I think the moral of this little video is don’t mess with an angry Russian driver, especially if all you are wearing is your underwear.


2. For Goodness Sake, Wear A Seat-belt

This man must be some sort of superhero disguised as a truck driver, or maybe his years of Olympic grade gymnastics training have finally been put to the test. Regardless, you would think that someone who drives trucks for a living (especially in Russia) would fasten their seat-belt.


3. Melee on the Freeway?

Talk about skipping right past honked horns and middle fingers to blunt force weapons.


4. Well That Was Unexpected

After this video, I can safely say that nothing I see on a Russian dashboard camera will ever surprise and amaze me as much as this.


5. That Was Even Less Expected

I know what I said two lines ago, but this is absolutely amazing:

For a bit more context, this video shows a meteor blast that took place over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk on February 15th, 2013. The blast glowed 30 times brighter than the sun and delivered the biggest astronomical impact felt on earth in more than a century.


These videos are an excellent, albeit surprisingly small, sample of the crazy, scary, and otherwise shock-inducing footage captured by Russian dashboard video cameras.

On that note, buckle up your seat-belts, don’t speed, but most importantly, if you can at all help it, avoid driving in Russia.

Top Ten Hidden Cameras

15 May

As consumers, we are often drawn to products that make us stand out.  Oftentimes, we pursue the latest and greatest in flashy cars, stylish clothing, and dazzling electronics to separate ourselves from the crowd.

The surveillance world is quite a bit different. The equipment we use to spy with cannot attract attention or stand out, otherwise it loses its effectiveness.  When it comes to hidden cameras this is especially true. In fact, a hidden camera’s usefulness is largely determined by how unassuming and ordinary-looking it is.

In that spirit, we at Spy Tec have assembled a countdown of the ten most inconspicuous, mundane hidden cameras out there:

10. A Mini Clock Radio

Mini Clock Radio Hidden Camera

You can find them on every nightstand, in bedrooms across America, but this clock radio is a bit different. The Mini Clock Radio Night Vision Hidden Camera looks like a clock radio and works like a clock radio because it actually is a fully functional clock radio, with the added benefit of audio and visual recording capabilities.  It even includes night vision recording, making it a great choice for day or night surveillance.

Here’s a video of the Hidden Camera Clock in action:


9. A Rock

Rock Hidden Camera

While a rock will not blend into the background of most indoor settings, if you are looking for an outdoor surveillance option, the XtremeLife Camera Rock is your best bet.  This camera not only has the durability to withstand any weather conditions, but also comes equipped with motion activated, high-resolution video recording capability and an industry best battery life of up to one year.


8. Glasses

Glasses Hidden Camera

The Clear HD Video Glasses, as their title suggests, take crystal clear audio and HD visual recording of anything you look at with the touch of a button.  If you actually need glasses to correct your vision, these absurdly stylish Video Glasses can be fitted with prescription lenses.

7. A Keychain

Keychain Camera

This HD Video Camera Keychain is the perfect lightweight, easy to transport camera you have been looking for, unless you do not have a car, in which case it might be somewhat hard to explain away. The small camera has a battery life of up to an hour and takes incredibly clear 1080P HD video.

This tiny Camera Keychain packs a lot of recording punch:


6. A Power Adapter

Power Adapter Camera

Power Adapters are everywhere and generally do not merit any notice, unless you are trying to charge something.  This Power Adapter Hidden Camera is not only useful because of its motion activated, high-resolution video recording capability, but also because it is a fully functional power adapter that can charge anything while simultaneously escaping notice.


5. Headphones

Hidden Camera Headphones

These Law Mate Hidden Camera Headphones are an excellent surveillance tool that is highly transportable and won’t earn you a second glance. The camera is equipped with both audio and high resolution video recording.


4. Tissue Box

Tissue Box Hidden Camera

The Tissue Box Hidden Camera in an excellent, all-inclusive recording device with no pinholes or external wires to give away its true purpose.  A tissue box can be placed nearly anywhere, providing natural cover for this motion activated, audio and visual recorder.


3. Button Camera

Button Camera

Before you even get a chance to express your disbelief, this a fully functional audio and visual recorder shaped like a button. This Pro Grade Button Camera Set features compact button cameras you can attach to your shirt and is perfect for covert operations.


2. Pen

Hidden Camera Pen

This DOD HD Video Pen seamlessly packs a shake free, 720P HD grade video camera into the unassuming form of a pen. Honestly, it is difficult to think of an item that is less suspicious and commonplace than a pen. So, if you are looking for an excellent surveillance tool sure to fly under the radar, you have found the prefect camera.

Here’s a video that shows just how powerful this small video pen is:


1. Water Bottle

Water Bottle Hidden Camera

The only thing possibly less noticeable than a pen is a water bottle. The Water Bottle Hidden Camera is truly the ultimate choice in discreet surveillance tools. The camera is capable of high-resolution motion activated recording, and looks perfectly natural in any setting, be it on a counter top, desk, night table, or even in your hands.


So know that you know our top ten hidden cameras, watch out for any clock radios, rocks, glasses, keychains, power adapters, headphones, tissue boxes, buttons, pens, or water bottles, because they could be watching you.