Hidden cameras are, understandably, one of the most controversial topics of the modern era. After all, the idea that someone might be recording your every move without your knowledge or consent — and the fact that they could be doing it right this very second — is certainly unsettling, to say the least. But in a lot of ways, that’s just the world we’re living in. When everyone already walks around with a powerful little supercomputer in their pocket that is capable of recording stunning 4K video at a moment’s notice, it’s natural for a bit of our privacy to evaporate in exchange for that advancement.
But despite all of that, there are still places that people visit every day that are being monitored by a hidden camera that a lot of us do NOT realize are under surveillance at all. There are a few key locations in particular that you’ll definitely want to be aware of moving forward.
When you walk into a branch of your local bank, you’re probably aware that you’re on camera — many of them, in fact. But what you may not realize is that you’re also being recorded before you ever step foot through the door — especially if you choose to use the nearby ATM instead of going inside.
Over the last few years, thieves have been using sophisticated hidden camera systems to monitor activity at standalone ATM units in an attempt to steal the identities of unsuspecting victims. These cameras — sometimes called skimmers — can be attached to an ATM in a way that is virtually undetectable to the naked eye. Then, when you input your card, it records you as you punch in your PIN. All the thief would then have to do is retrieve the camera, watch the footage and they have everything they need to go on a spending spree on your dime.
Especially in the era that we’re now living in, it is totally understandable for schools to take some pretty drastic measures to protect the children under their care. But what you probably don’t realize is that a lot of schools use hidden cameras in a variety of locations… like on the busses that they take to and from class every day!
The National Center for Education Statistics even recently revealed that about 75% of schools throughout the nation use these types of techniques, meaning that it’s probably more widespread than a lot of people would have suspected.
This is one of those lessons that people typically only learn the hard way. Over the last decade, in particular, hidden cameras at traffic lights have become more and more common throughout the country. Some of these are used to issue tickets to drivers automatically, fining you for everything from speeding to running a red light without the need to get an actual police officer involved. They can also be used for more scientific purposes, too. Sometimes they’re used to help monitor traffic to help identify trends and patterns that could lead to improvements in local neighborhoods.
If you were under the mistaken impression that a hidden camera in your hospital room would immediately land that institution in violation of HIPAA, it turns out that you’re very, very wrong. Because of the wide range of different safety issues that are at play in your average hospital (particularly in situations where the likelihood of self-harm is high), hospitals are very much allowed to install hidden cameras in patient rooms without their knowledge. The cameras have even become so sophisticated that they can instantly alert doctors when you sit up in bed, or if you’re having a restless night of sleep for whatever reason!
Hotel Rooms and Other Hospitality Environments
Last but not least we have hotel rooms — something that has again become unfortunately common over the last decade. Now, a hotel will never install a hidden camera in your room themselves. But because hidden cameras can now be concealed in everyday objects like stuffed animals, alarm clocks and smoke detectors, there is little to stop someone who wants to keep track of your every move from doing so in this most intimate of areas.