People want to know how they can protect themselves from spy cameras, writes G. Anand

It was a make-up artiste who helped her relative recently discover the wireless spy camera a “tech savvy peeping tom”, an electrician, had slyly installed in her bathroom in June last year.

The incident had caused quite a furore in the urban neighbourhood and panicked residents beset the local police with requests to find whether similar devices had been installed without their knowledge in their own homes.

A police investigator said the woman’s job had much to do with the detection of the crime. She worked with celebrities who universally shared an almost existential need to keep their private moments away from prying eyes.

He said that it so chanced that the beautician shared personal warmth with her clients, particularly an actor who sat on the judge’s panel of a television reality show.

The actor recently told the beautician that she, like many others in her profession, always took with her a costly but convenient to carry counter-surveillance device that helped her detect hidden video and audio transmitters, bugs in spy parlance, in hotel rooms.

The actor said most known names in the film industry had their aides “sweep” their rooms for concealed electronic surveillance devices before they occupied it. Some actors were recently scandalised to see their private lives disseminated as “sleazy” MMS by cell phone user groups.

Some of the “spy camera captures” had been posted on the Internet. Most of it had originated from hotel rooms. Companies which offered private security solutions had prompted many actors to acquire counter surveillance devices at considerable cost.

The beautician later told the police that the actor’s words were on her mind for some days when she noticed “a box with wires that apparently led to nowhere” attached to the water heater her relative had installed in her house. She prised opened the box to find a hidden camera there.

Circle Inspector D. Asokan said the camera had a small “radio AV transmitter” which communicated the images it captured to a computer- linked receiver installed at the suspect’s adjacent house.

Mr. Asokan said in the past week many people had rung up the Peroorkada station to find out where they could find such “hidden camera detection devices”.

So, far the police have no answer for that.