Who's Watching You? A Look at Surveillance

By: Tim Saunders
By: Tim Saunders

We go about our lives every day, mostly unaware of what's going on around us, and who may be watching us. Chances are, when you're out on the town and sometimes even in your own house, someone has an eye and ear on both the trivial and even intimate moments of your life.

"It's become more commonplace than in the past so you truly are being watched," says Sgt. Felicia Glick with the Rockingham County Crime Prevention Office.

Today's world of tight security and the voyeur culture created by reality television have people putting cameras everywhere. Sometimes they're obvious. We expect to be taped when we're at the ATM machine or shopping at a department store, but would you believe that the things you pass by every day like your clock, your smoke detector, even an exit sign, can all potentially carry a hidden camera.

Darren Warble sells items just like these to people right here in the Valley.

"There's all types of covert cameras out on the market today, it basically depends on the environment where you place them," says Warble.

Warble says his clients are looking for peace of mind. Money is no object. Some of his products can cost as much as $1,700.

"Most of the time, people are suffering some kind of loss whether it's money, or items come up missing come up missing from their homes" says Warble.

To give you an idea of just how easy it is to get these covert cameras, from the comfort of your own home you can order a radio, an ink pen, a desk clock, all with a hidden camera inside. Prices here are between $300 and $400 and it's all available on the Internet. On the surface it may seem like a threat: the idea that cameras are in so many places, but the law does prevent cameras from being put just anywhere.

"You wouldn't want to put a camera where it would be an invasion of privacy, such as a dressing room in a clothing store or something of that nature," says Glick.

The law doesn't stop everyone. With the rise in items like camera phones, it's becoming easier for surveillance equipment to end up in the hands of the wrong people.

"Whether there's future legislation to govern those acts and subsequent laws protecting citizens from the unwanted taping, that's yet to be seen," says Glick.

For now, Glick says being on camera is simply something we have to get used to.

"Big Brother is truly watching and it's just become a fact of life anymore," says Glick.

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