We can start by asking the question: what exactly is a hidden camera? Wikipedia defines it as a ‘still or video camera used to film people without their knowledge.’ Such cameras are hidden, either by being placed in a position where they are not visible, or by being disguised as other objects. With the advent of modern-day technology, hidden cameras may be disguised as most everyday objects, including but not limited to radios, mobile phones, ball caps, smoke and motion detectors, and even potted plants!
Cameras that were small enough to fit in watches existed as early as the 1880s, but since then, advances in electronics and miniaturization and electronics have greatly reduced the size of cameras while increasing their quality and affordability. This has led to the development of a whole new group of cameras called spy cameras or sub-miniature cameras the best high-defi cameras . In fact, some consumer digital cameras are so small, that they can also be classified as spy cameras.
A drawback to miniaturization, however, does exist. The smaller the camera taking the picture, the blurrier and more out of focus the image will be. However, technology has stepped in and created programs to clean up this images.
Hidden cameras can be obtained without much hassle. They can be ordered off the Internet, or else they can be obtained at many convenience stores in most parts of the world. A quick Google search for hidden camera sales gives us nearly six million hits. Many websites that sell such cameras claim to have hidden cameras that can be disguised as virtually anything, including stationery and clothes.
Hidden cameras can be of two types, wired and wireless. Wired hidden cameras are usually connected to a television, VCR, or a Digital Video Recorder. Conversely, wireless hidden cameras do not need to be physically connected to anything, but transmit a video signal to a receiver within a certain specified radius (usually below a hundred feet).
Hidden cameras can be used in various ways, some of this being nefarious. Spy cameras are usually important in espionage, and can be used to capture sensitive information. This does not only apply to government and military information, but also to industrial information. Since industries get a great advantage over competitors if they know information about them, some unscrupulous industries may engage in industrial espionage.
Hidden cameras are also used for security purposes in homes and institutions. Although most structures already have other security measures, the hidden cameras are usually used as a backup system to ensure that even if the other security measures are penetrated, the perpetrator shall be known.
Such cameras are also an important tool of paparazzi. Such people take images or videos of celebrities, usually going about their day to day routine, and sell them to gain money. Such images or videos are most often taken by hidden cameras, in order to not attract the attention of the celebrities.
There are several ways that the use of hidden cameras has impacted on our everyday lives. First, it has led to deterioration in the level of privacy that we can enjoy. As is evident to anyone who is a keen visitor of the Internet, nothing remains a secret on the World Wide Web. The proliferation of social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter has only made this worse. The increase in file sharing sites has also contributed to the drop in the privacy level that we are experiencing. Video streaming sites such as YouTube are also complicit in this issue. Nothing in this time and age is considered sacred, and everybody is fair game for those who want fame on the Internet.
Hidden cameras have also affected the corporate world by improving security. Shoplifting has become a minor crime, since hidden cameras can easily be used to identify perpetrators and bring them to justice. The use of hidden cameras has also reduced company losses due to laziness of employees, since their work can be easily monitored by employers. On the other hand, companies now have more to worry about because of the increasing prevalence of industrial espionage using hidden cameras. It can therefore be said that to corporations, hidden cameras remain both advantageous and disadvantageous.
And now we come to the crux of the matter. The proponents of hidden cameras like to point out the great strides that we have made in the sector of security with the help of the machines. They point to the proliferation of closed circuit cameras in banks and Automatic Teller Machines as proof of this advance in the area of security. They point to the city of London in the United Kingdom- which has one of the highest numbers of cameras in the world- as a beacon that beckons to the future.
Policemen, especially in the United States of America have come to greatly value these devices. With the introduction of dashboard cameras to a large number of police cars, they have been greatly assisted in discharging their duties. Long gone are the days where a suspect could claim that he was being railroaded, since nowadays the cameras record the activities of the suspects.
Such gadgets have also increased the deterrence factor for petty crimes such as mugging, which is an advantage to our safety and security. After all, why would any criminal commit a crime knowing fully that he is very likely to be identified and tracked? This point serves to support the proliferation of the gadgets, especially among the middle classes in society.
In conclusion, hidden cameras have both negative and positive impacts on our lives. But if anything is evident from this article, it is the fact that these devices are now here to stay, whether we like it or not. We, therefore, have to adjust our lives accordingly so we will not be caught unawares by the difficulties that such devices can bring to our lives. However, we should not forget that such devices are but tools used by men and as such are neither good nor evil by themselves, but depend on how they are used.