Wireless security cameras are miniature battery-operated spy cameras that can be hidden virtually anywhere. They transmit a signal to a receiver that can surreptitiously record activity when movement triggers the camera. Commonly called “nanny cams” for their notoriety in catching abusive caretakers in the act, these cameras have also been used to unscrupulously record people in public changing rooms, hotel rooms, and public restrooms, in rented apartments and houses and in a variety of settings assumed to be private. Discovering that one of these highly affordable, tiny devices is watching and recording surreptitiously is close to impossible without a wireless camera detector.
A wireless camera detector, about the size of a cigarette lighter, is small enough to carry in your pocket or purse. It only needs to be switched on and slowly waved or pointed in various directions. You can walk through your home with it, bring it shopping and use it when you step into a changing stall or restroom, or switch it on anywhere else you expect a high degree of privacy. The detector will quickly confirm your trust or alert you that an intrusive wireless camera is watching.
Wireless camera detectors normally scan from 50MHz to 3GHz at variable distances and channels. Inexpensive units have a modest price tag of $30 - $40 (USD) and a sweep rage of 5-feet (1.5 meters). These devices scan radio frequency (RF) waves and cannot detect closed circuit television (CCTV).
Some wireless camera detectors also locate audio bug devices. Generally these units scan a wider array of frequencies starting in the 2MHz – 10MHz range, up to 3GHz. More expensive models feature locating technology to guide you to the position of the hidden camera or bug.
An alternate wireless camera detector, purportedly used by the military and now available to the public, locates both wired and wireless cams whether they are transmitting RF waves or not (i.e. whether they are turned on or off). This small device uses an array of very powerful LEDs surrounding a view port. By looking through the view port and depressing a button to activate the LEDs, you can slowly scan the room where cameras might be suspected. Any camera lens present, no matter how small, will create a sharp reflective pinpoint of light in the view port. These units start at about $200.
As miniaturized spy technologies have become affordable and proliferated, potentially compromising security and privacy, counter technology continues to move forward as well. Wireless camera detectors, bug detectors and cell phone detectors are all examples of this growing industry.