Can you protect yourself in this smartphone-obsessed world

Read this very carefully and remember: From now on you will be observed. It sounds fantastic or scary for you? Look closely at the stranger sitting at the other end of the hall. Although he seems to be talking about his smartphone, he actually takes pictures of you using a special app. And thats just the beginning. At this morning’s meeting last Tuesday, when you made that outrageous joke about your new boss, your colleague’s smart phone lying quietly at the table picked up every word you said. Later that evening, when you were in the restaurant and the waitress made a flirting but innocent joke, someone recorded a video of the whole interaction.

At first glance, it seems like you can not do anything to prevent such things from happening again and again. Millions of functioning smartphones around the world mean millions of active recorders ready to capture every word or move quickly. And when these records are made, it is no big deal to throw any pictures, videos or audios on the internet and share them with everyone. Maybe there is a way to prevent everything? Just take a look. Maybe someone clever enough can make a stealth cloak like in fantasy films, or companies use clues from James Bond films and create high-tech counter-surveillance devices that allow us to move in public without worrying about potential privacy issues to have to take care of.


In fact, it could be the companies we already know well, the more so because there are already some technologies that I’m talking about. For example, Apple patented new technology late last year, which can easily disable the camera of an iPhone with the help of infrared sensors aimed at the camera. It was developed to prevent film piracy. But ordinary people can also use such devices in the march. Todd Morris, founder and chief executive of surveillance and countermeasure firm BrickHouse Security, said some early technologies already exist to help people be intentionally recorded. For example, any woman can use a wireless camera detector in the locker room to find out if a hidden camera is installed between her clothes. Yes, that happens, and pretty much.

But there are some limits, as the dressing room or the business office is completely different from the large and crowded public space. For example, if you use the Apple Camera Disable device, you will definitely make many people feel annoyed when they just want to introduce themselves to a few sights or take photos to remember friends. The same is partly true for GSM cell phone jammer, but it can vary from place to place (for example, the cinema must definitely have such devices to make the visitor’s experience continuous and thus even better).

“While you do not wear a fake mustache or a stocking over your head, there is no way for someone in large numbers to prevent them from being secretly portrayed,” Todd Morris claimed. “In these cases, we have to use our technology to combat the technology only at the server level using algorithms that say,” Do not post this photo of me on the Internet. “Internet, by simply recognizing their voice or even their face, should be able to demarcate it in the same way, but once everyone starts to wear these Google glasses and other augmented reality glasses, we will put us in the new kind of surveillance because they’re likely to record everything they see.

Founder and CEO of Nest Labs (company that manufactures smart thermostats) Tony Fadell said camouflage devices would definitely be available to ordinary people because they could protect their privacy. What he calls “audio cloaks” would be a high-tech hat that pours flat noise from above and prevents any possibility of anyone recording your babble. However, it’s much harder to hide images, he added. Among other possible counter-photography techniques, there is a necklace that emits infrared light and simply blurs all the images made in your direction, or a radar watch that vibrates at any moment when an audio recorder in its vicinity becomes active.

“Most of the surveillance is organized by governments who want to reduce the proportion of criminal activity in their countries by watching us all at the same time,” says David D. Cole, a professor of law at Georgetown University, who focuses on national affairs has specialized in security