by March 1, 2005 0 comments

Tape not tap
Cellphones starting at Rs 8,000 (Sony Ericcson T-610) come with Bluetooth. They can record video and take still photos. Some models can record voice. Taking still pictures with a cellphone is a hassle, regardless of the model, since it makes noise when you snap a picture. Video has no such restrictions and you get AVI output that you can copy and edit on your PC, making it an easier option to use for snooping. The only problem is that the phone already has only a small amount of memory and an even smaller portion of it is available for such recordings. Using MMS and PC connectivity, you can move such recordings to other devices easily.

Small yet effective
Web cams are priced under a thousand rupees. The video quality is sometimes poor, but it’s cheap and easy to set up. You get software to add features such as motion-activated recording, where the cam can start taping the environment if it detects appreciable movement in the area it is looking at. So, leave it running in your office at night and record everything that happens after you leave. You can also use it with a laptop to transmit this video to a remote location over wireless.

Listen from far away
One of the cheapest devices you can use to spy, unless of course, you don’t mind getting caught. The RF cordless headphones come with a transmitter with a range of 50 meters, not counting walls and obstructions. Normally, these transmitters would be plugged into a TV or home theater system, but since they come with their own batteries, they can be stuck just about anywhere within your listening range. Cost? Rs 650.

The white collar spy
A drab-looking notebook, the Hyundai 362C (Jan 2005, PCQuest, page 127) has a built-in microphone and a VGA camera and comes for Rs 54,000. The VGA camera is completely invisible (see zoom) unless you know that it exists. This notebook can be placed in an unobtrusive corner and be used to record everything that goes on in there. Oops! Is that what that notebook in the far corner doing right now?

For the musical snoop
Various models of personal MP3 players which work as dictaphones too, are available easily and cheaply. The lowest of them costs under Rs 3,000. It comes with a 128 MB solid-state storage that normally allows you to playback MP3 and WMA. But most models come with a voice recorder for taking voice memos. So, are you sure, that disinterested employee in the corner with an MP3 player plugged into his ears is really listening to music? Or, is he secretly taping everything being said around him?

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