Covert surveillance has come out of the shadows of late.
The chief of the CIA had his private emails published, TalkTalk was held to ransom by a mysterious hacker (possibly a 15-year-old boy), and then there was the small matter of a Bond film - focusing on the murky world of international surveillance.
But it's not just the anonymous internet hackers who are at it - a survey from the America Management Association as many as 43 percent of US employers 'monitor' their employees. As such, we wanted to know how easy it is for figures like your boss to spy on you - and the tools available to help keep your privacy private.
Here are 10 surveillance gadgets and their privacy counterparts you might want to familiarise yourself with.
L16 by Light
Sixteen lenses are better than one with this beauty of a smartphone sized snapper that thinks it’s a big-boy, hipster holster camera.
Without the need for bolt-on lenses or hideous nobs and dohickies - let alone any form of artisan coffee or moustache - the L16 can produce images that are 52 megapixels and is as lightweight as it is to use - perfect for background detail without getting too close. Don’t believe us? Check out the video. Ships late Summer of next year.
Canary by Canary
This puppy is easy to set-up and detects motion over time - in other words it learns when you are there and alerts you when there is activity but you aren’t - and all in HD no less.
Aimed at the paranoid boss or spouse with an eye on design (it's available in a range of colours so it blends in), Canary is ideal for those who need to keep an eye out at night and when they can’t actually be present.
WiFi Painting by Bonanza
Perhaps your boss doesn’t want people to know they are being watched - in which case this Wi-Fi pin-point camera baked into a rather ugly painting might just be the thing for them.
Remotely accessed via your mobile, this offense to the eye is ideal for those who require some deniability. The SD Micro storage option is a nice touch in case you get found out and need to remove the evidence quickly.
GSM4000u Micro GSM Listening Device by SpyShop
This slightly-terrifying-because-it’s-so-small GSM4000U bug is a simple but effective way to listen to anyone you want to without their knowledge.
Insert any SIM card, call the number et voila you’ll hear what they are say. With smart tech inside the incredibly small body (43 x 34 x 17mm), the unit loses the background noise and dials up the vocals whether it’s inside something or in open air. There's 6 to 8 hours of battery life, but can stay in place for six days without requiring a new charge.
Executive Style Gold digital Voice and Audio Spy Recorder Pen By SpyGear Gadgets
This simple looking pen fits with any attire, with the covert bonus of being activated by conversation.
Got an important meeting and want to remember everything? Or perhaps you simply want to whistleblow on major corporate wrongdoing that's screwing up Mother Earth like falsifying emission tests or something like that... this is the gadget for you.
Lily by Lily
Ok now we’re talking super surveillance.
Drones have become a bit blasé of late: everyone seems to be using them for corporate videos, but not the Lily, no sir. Drop the tracker into the case or pocket of the intended mark and boom - at a distance of 15m up and 30m in front of the target - this puppy will follow them until it runs out of batteries.
Waterproof, with a 12 megapixel still-taking camera, capable of taking shots at multiple angles, this is equally as fun for family getaways as is it scouting a getaway. Simply throw and go.
Ring Doorbell by Ring
Perhaps you think the postman is always ringing twice - what better way to check than an HD video doorbell?
Ring enables you to do just that - or use its motion sensor to capture footage of whoever's on your door step. Either way, everything is saved in the cloud so the evidence is safe.
Keepsafe App by Keepsafe
This is like having a fake photo library for keeping “certificates” and “important documents” in.
It could of course also hold many other images to keep them away from prying eyes. The app will also take a photo if the unlock pin is entered incorrectly on your phone and send it to you. A nice touch for any untrustworthy types trying to access those “certificates”.
Hidden Camera Detector by Brickhouse Security
Hidden cameras can be anywhere (as some unsuspecting US Starbucks toilet go-ers found out) but now you can protect yourself with this handy little contraption that works even if the camera is off.
Turn it on and you can scan a room in ten seconds for peace of mind that you aren’t being recorded. If you see red flashing lights... don’t do anything you wouldn’t tell Nan about.
Non-window Faraday Bag by EDEC
We live in a world where markets can move with a tweet, feelings can be hurt with flapping lips and lives of illiterate people sending pictures of their ducks can be changed in mere seconds.
That’s where these beauties come in. Faraday bags are used on CSI when a nerd does something to another nerd with a smartphone or tablet and the data needs to be protected from the evil outside. Once inside, the goodies are shielded from cellular, WiFi, bluetooth and radio signals so the evidence is preserved - or shielded, depending on which side of this cookie you're nibbling.