Covert Listening Devices are more commonly known as “bugs,” they are made to look exactly like any number of innocuous household items, and are set up for the sole purpose of eavesdropping on conversations without anyone knowing it. These devices are made up of a microphone which records everything going on and a miniature radio transmitter to send the audio somewhere else.
Covert Listening Devices were used in two ways – to bug someone’s telephone or as a “wire” on an individual who goes in to collect incriminating data. These systems are more common than most people think, from military and government, police, private investigators, businesses, and even your friends, family and neighbors. The most common targets of bugging operations are embassies and other important diplomatic areas, known hangouts for criminals, meeting rooms, hotel rooms, airplanes, vehicles and more. Generally, location bugs set up legally are only placed prior to the visit of important persons or where there is suspected criminal activity.
Bugs come in a variety of forms now-a-days, they can be remotely activated and even the most innocent electronic devices can enable someone to spy on you without your knowledge. Cell phone microphones can be easily activated remotely, even when a call is not being made, without any special access to the phone and you would never know that it had been done; anything in range of the cell phone’s mic can be heard and recorded. Your car is another location for these kinds of devices – using your car’s built-in emergency and tracking system someone can activate it and listen to the conversations going on in the car. Again, you would never know they were listening.
There are some counter-measure devices available for certain types of bugs although even these are not fool-proof. Since most Covert Listening Devices emit radio waves you can “sweep” for them using a receiver that picks up those emissions. Advanced bugs can be turned on and off remotely, they can change frequencies automatically and some bugs transmit in bursts so that they can only be detected if the proper scanning device is running non-stop to find it. However, if the bug doesn’t use radio waves to transmit then it is almost impossible to detect.
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