Surge in hidden cameras causes concern after fashionista restroom incident

By Tuan Hung   June 27, 2024 | 04:00 am PT
Surge in hidden cameras causes concern after fashionista restroom incident
Screenshots of a device with the alleged ability of detecting hidden cameras. Photo by VnExpress/Bao Lam
Several people on social media expressed their concerns over hidden cameras, following news of Vietnamese fashionista Chau Bui being recorded without her consent in a dressing room.

Previously on Tuesday, police in HCMC said a man had placed a hidden camera, disguised as a watch, inside the restroom of a studio in District 3 where Chau Bui was at. She discovered the device purely be coincidence, and a further inspection revealed several footage of her inside the device.

A Facebook post by Chau Bui on Tuesday regarding the incident garnered over 180,000 reactions, 26,000 comments and 42,000 shares in one day.

Hoai Thu, 28, from Hanoi, said she has had a similar experience herself two years prior. She and her friend used to stay at a homestay facility on the outskirts of Hanoi. The friend, out of sheer coincidence, discovered a hidden camera as small as a button being tucked behind an electric socket. The homestay owner said someone had probably posed as a guest to install the hidden camera there.

Ever since, whenever she goes to a new place, Thu spends around 15 minutes to double-check the electric sockets, fire warning systems, mirrors, and Wi-Fi routers.

"I don't know when this obsession of mine will end," she said.

Hoai Thuong, 26, from Da Nang, was also worried after her boyfriend discovered several videos recorded in a dressing room at a shop that she usually frequents, which were uploaded on a Telegram group.

"No one is certain whether they are a victim of secret recordings," Thuong said.

While hidden cameras are nothing new, the matter has been brought to the front more prominently ever since the Chau Bui incident. As people are preparing for summer vacations with their friends and families, several have gone on technology forums to learn how to detect hidden cameras.

Nguyen Manh Tien, a technology expert, said hidden recording devices can have many shapes and functions, but they mostly originate from China. They are usually small and hard to detect with the naked eye. They are often attached onto common objects in a room, such as electric sockets, switches, or even mobile objects like watches, glasses and pens.

Some hidden cameras can be accessed remotely. Some can only store data for about a week. Some are made like modules, which can be installed onto household appliances by anyone.

People have also been looking to buy devices to detect hidden cameras, mostly by using infrared waves. They are priced at VND100,000-200,000 ($3.93-7.85). But some people reported that they are only usable at close distances.

Tien said people can also use their smartphones to look for hidden recording devices. After turning out the lights in a room, people can scan the surroundings with the phone’s camera to find dots of light, which can be a sign of a hidden recording device.

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