Anirbaan Hritiq

Privacy and intimacy go hand in hand. No one likes to be under any form of surveillance while being in their personal space. In a developing country like India where the hospitality industry is at its booming phase in sync with people’s enthusiasm to explore the taste of freedom, incidents of snooping are rising.

Especially such cases are prominent with private videos of couples getting compromised when they are boarded into lodges, motels and small staying places promoted by platforms such as OYO rooms, Airbnbs, Fabhotels, Treebo, to name just a few.

Couples, especially youngsters who board in a budget hotel are easy targets of such crimes. Lodging offering couple-friendly stays at cheap rates often trap youngsters in form of blackmailing them by recording their intimate videos and threatening to leak them online for earning money.

Here are a few tips to prevent such eventualities:

Scan the doubtful areas: Don’t board in and directly go for a nap. It is always advisable to take a quick scan of doubtful areas where there is a possibility of fixing a bug or hidden camera. 

Hidden cameras are usually found in central A/C vents, smoke detectors, telephones, alarm clocks, and room decorative pieces such as statues, bed lamps, etc. Also, check the washrooms and their cupboards.
Use your phone’s flashlight to detect cameras: Your handheld smart device can come to your rescue while you are investigating bugging cameras in your room. 
The best way is to turn off all lights along with pulling curtains to make the room entirely dark. Since every camera consists of lenses it is sure to reflect lights falling on them. By using your flashlights, you can scan through the vulnerable areas of the room and find out hidden cameras, if any. 
Scan for infrared lights:
Most cameras emit infrared lights which may not be visible to naked eyes, but can be easily detected by smartphone cameras. One can easily detect infrared lights by using the front camera (selfie camera) of phones which are usually not fitted with IR filters.

All you need to do is to turn off the lights and scan vulnerable areas using the selfie camera of your phone.
Using Wi-Fi to detect hidden cameras: Hidden cameras which are not non-analogue and are connected to Wi-Fi can be scanned through a network scanning applications like Fing, among others. 
One can easily scan bugs which are attached to the hotel’s network by using the internet connection details provided by the host.