A Los Angeles news outfit (KTLA 5) reported a how a mom and his 5-year old son discovered a suspected hidden cam in a Starbucks restroom.
According to the news report, a mom with her 5-year old son dropped by Starbucks located in Lancaster, CA and used a single-occupancy restroom. It could’ve been a quick stop-over, but not until something weird caught the little boy’s attention. The mom found his son staring at the sink with troubled look on his face.
What happened next was a shocking discovery for the mom. When she asked her son what it was all about, the boy replied “Mommy, why is there a phone under there?’”
Just below the sink, a cellphone with a camera was peeking out of the sink piping. Paper towels were stuffed to mount the cellphone so that the camera can be positioned in a way that it will capture the angle from the toilet seat!
The startled mom took action and reported this to the store personnel . Authorities were alerted immediately on this suspected hidden cam in a Starbucks restroom.
In the interview, the mom who decided to remain anonymous was truly bothered saying – “It’s such a violation of privacy,” she said. “Not only of mine, but my son.”
As for the authorities, it was confirmed that the cellphone was indeed in recording mode. How long it has been there, what it contained and who is the perpetrator, are still under investigation.
Starbucks on other hand has released an official statement for this suspected hidden cam in a Starbucks restroom issue.
“We are disturbed by this incident and take our obligation to provide a safe environment for our customers and partners (employees) very seriously.”
Surely this incident happened miles away from the Philippines, but being aware and being vigilant will go a long way for our safety. It is important that we share this awareness with our kids for they are easy targets.
Here are some helpful tips to check if there’s a hidden cam that might compromise your privacy:
Note: The last one is just ingeniously practical!
Do an Initial Sweep. Do a physical search of the premises. This involves a slow, meticulous sweep of the room or building you suspect is wired.
Look around for anything that seems different or out of place, such as flower arrangements, pictures on the wall out of level or in unusual areas, or lampshades that don’t look normal. Check for smoke detectors you didn’t add, look for a speaker that might have a camera in it.
- Look inside flower pots, light fixtures, and other places where a microphone transmitter can easily be hidden.
- Look under couch cushions, table tops, and shelves. Underneath shelves and table tops are excellent places for miniature cameras.
- Look for wires that do not seem to go anywhere, such as an appliance or other familiar device. “Hardwired” (that is, not wireless) spy equipment is less common with modern technology, but is still used for permanent surveillance in commercial businesses for loss prevention.
Listen as you walk the entire room quietly.
Many small, motion-sensitive cameras make an almost inaudible click or buzz when they operate.
- Turn off the lights and look around for tiny red or green LED lights. Some microphones have “power on” indicator lights, and if the person who sets it up is careless they may fail to cover or deactivate this feature.
- While the lights are off, grab a flashlight and carefully examine all mirrors.These can be made transparent from one side so that a camera can see through, but they rely on the observer’s side being darker than the area observed in order to keep the other side of the mirror reflective.
Search for pinhole cameras in the dark. A pinhole camera might have a charge-coupled device (CCD) sitting behind a tiny opening in a wall or object. Get an empty toilet paper tube and a flashlight. Put the tube over one eye like a telescope and close your other eye. As you sweep the flashlight over the room, pay attention to any small glimmers that reflect back at you.
Use your cell phone to pick up an electromagnetic field. Place a call on your cell phone, then wave the device around where you think there might be a camera or microphone. If you can hear a clicking noise on the call, it means your phone might be interfering with an electromagnetic field.
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