How pervasive do you think spying really is today? The Cold War is over, after all, and Bond, James Bond exists only in books and movies. In any case, why should anyone care what you do or say unless you’re a criminal?
Edward Snowden revealed back in 2013 that at least two countries can delve into the lives of pretty much anyone they want to, but they said we should trust them and that was the end of that. So, how worried must you be about your privacy?
For most people, the answer is “not very”. Your computer is only one of several billion devices on the internet, so hackers aren’t going to be all that interested in it unless it’s poorly secured. You should certainly take basic steps like shredding your personal documents, but for the most part, you’re probably just too boring to spy on.
If you do somehow pique someone’s interest, though, the ease with which they can learn more about your personal affairs is frightening. An inexpensive GPS tracker can be fitted to your vehicle within seconds, discreet high-definition cameras can be hidden in the tree across from your house to view your comings and goings, and, if someone can sneak in, your home or office can be bugged for both audio and video.
Isn’t this illegal, you will ask? Well, since even the FBI routinely broke wiretapping laws when those still existed, you shouldn’t expect the police to come running if your privacy is being invaded. For this reason, illegal surveillance crimes are hardly even recorded unless they make up part of something like blackmail or stalking.
In fact, you could say that they’re commonplace now that technology places them within the capabilities of even amateurs. It happens all the time: lawyers spy on their opposition, husbands spy on wives, companies spy on employees; even professional sports teams are spied on by gamblers and one another. This kind of thing is rampant and usually undetectable, unless you take special steps like buying an RF bug sweeper.
This product or something similar is a must-have item for any security contractor who wants to offer more than a basic guarding service. It will also be a useful asset in settings where sensitive information is handled, for example law offices and industrial design workshops. Be warned, though, that actually using it correctly requires a bit of knowledge and practice. A microwave on the other side of a wall, or radio waves reflecting from a metal drawer handle, can easily trigger false positives.
While it has a fairly wide frequency range and can therefore locate most kinds of commercially available spying products, there are still some bugs it won’t detect, including laser microphones, wired listening devices, and the infamous backdoor that lets the NSA turn your cellphone into their microphone without your knowledge. Luckily, most of the bugs it isn’t designed to pick up use fairly expensive technology, and if the people who own that kind of thing really want to listen to what you and your colleagues are chatting about, they will find a way.