This Upcoming Summer, Beware of Hidden Cameras!


Without knowing it, you may be being spied on.


By: Diana Bello Aristizábal

Para leer en Español

Often times, when we plan our vacations and we want the experience to be pleasant and worry-free, we think about how to protect ourselves from extreme weather, how to take care of our budget, which streets, or neighborhoods of our destination to avoid, and where to stay that is best rated. However, we rarely (if ever) think about how to protect our privacy.

Although it’s unthinkable that someone could be watching us while we are in the bathroom of a hotel, an Airbnb or a cruise ship or simply sharing in private with our loved ones, the reality is that many people have been recorded on camera by a third party without authorization, something that at least in Florida constitutes a crime.

Under Florida Statute 810.145 it’s illegal to secretly record or broadcast someone while they are in an intimate state for reasons of personal interest or sexual gratification. Additionally, if the crime, considered to be video voyeurism, includes a telephone, camera, or other imaging device with the purpose of recording private parts of the victim’s body, penalties increase.

In the case of Arvin Joseph Mirasol, one of the most recent ones on video voyeurism, he is facing six counts for this crime and one count for possession of child pornography after a victim found a camera installed in her stateroom bathroom when she was on a Royal Caribbean cruise this past February.

The man, who worked as stateroom attendant, was arrested in Broward, and numerous videos of women undressing in bathrooms and child pornography were found in his possession. Mirasol confirmed to the authorities that he installed the cameras and confessed to have been monitoring them since he began working on the Symphony of the Seas cruise ship in December 2023.

To avoid becoming a victim of this crime, which in Florida can represent 1 to 15 years in prison, below are some key tools. It should be noted today it’s easier than ever to hide a camera, because in addition to the fact that all smartphones have one, it’s also possible to mask them in all types of everyday objects such as pens, mirrors, stuffed animals, boxes, or glasses.


The smartphone, your best ally

Although it may seem that we are defenseless against voyeurs and that besides carefully inspecting the new place we arrive at to find a camera, we cannot do more, technology works in our favor. You only need to have a smartphone.

The trick works as follows: when a person installs a camera, it must be connected to the Internet so that it works properly. When doing so and while is on, it releases a certain type of radiation that can be detected by a mobile app.

The job of the app is to detect the electromagnetic fields of the hidden camera and ours, activate it and move around the place we suspect of until the screen in our phone indicates the presence of this type of device. The app’s algorithm eliminates frequencies related to other types of devices, and it’s recommended to execute the tracking task with the lights off and the blinds down.

There is a version of this app for iOS users and another one for Android users. Both are called Hidden Camera Detectors. According to the Apple app website, it has features such as Bluetooth detector for nearby devices; detection of camera lenses or red dots with the use of filters; and record of search results.

The Android version detects hidden cameras using a magnetic sensor on the phone and shows real-time graphs of nearby magnetic activities, among other features. Other similar apps include Hidden Camera Finder and Detector (Google Play), DontSpy 2 (Apple) and Detectify (Google Play).

There are two other ways to verify if someone is spying on us or not: in the dark, turn on the flashlight of your mobile phone and then open its camera to examine the entire site through it. If you see a reflection on the screen, there is a hidden camera. The second way is to scan the Wi-Fi network of the site we are in to detect hidden cameras through the Fing app, available for both iOS and Android.


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