Can you detect a digital voice recorder?

As technology continues to evolve, it’s not a surprise that a lot of the gadgets that you see in James Bond movies are now a reality. Who would have thought that smartphones would be a thing?

In fact, as recently as 20 years ago, a lot of the functions of a typical iPhone would seem like science fiction. That’s how far we’ve come.

Gadgets are not only getting faster and pack a lot more functions and features. It also tends to get smaller while mobile phones have gotten bigger.

You’re able to do so much more with them today compared to three years ago. This begs the question, since people are able to do so many things with a wide range of devices, have we reached the point where it becomes easier to spy on people?

Keep in mind that surveillance gadgets have been around for a long time. Again, going back to James Bond movies, modern day surveillance and recording devices have a very small footprint.

You don’t have to use sophisticated but bulky and heavy listening equipment that you can only transport around in a van. You’ve probably seen those movies, right? Two guys are in a van, and one of their operatives is sitting a few yards away, and the guys in the van are listening into their contacts conversations.

What if I told you that all the gadgets and devices inside that can have now been shrunk to the size of your palm? That’s right. Listening devices, voice recorders, cameras, hidden cameras, spy cameras and microphones are now miniaturized. They don’t need to be transported in a van, they have a very small footprint.

In fact, they weigh close to nothing. They are so small that it’s gonna be really hard to detect them. This has been going on for quite some time when it comes to hidden cameras. You probably have seen those hidden cam shows on late night cable. Well, guess what? Hidden recording devices have gone to the next level.

Now, we have really sophisticated listening devices that can be used to track people and record their conversations. Here’s the clincher. You don’t have to sit right next to the person you’re trying to keep tabs on. You can be anywhere from a few dozen yards or even 100 or so yards away.

That’s how far this surveillance technology has evolved. It’s comforting to think that only police would have access to this technology. Sadly, this is not true.

You can pick up all sorts of secret recording devices online. There are very discreet, small, compact, almost undetectable, secret voice recorders you can buy off the internet.

Why should dictation bloggers and dictaphone writers care about listening devices?

If you prize your ideas, you need to protect them. They are your biggest assets. This is especially true of bloggers and authors with at least one best seller or hit book under their belt.

Imagine your best blog post ideas or novel plotlines copied and pasted on the Net or reverse engineered? Thanks to sophisticated listening technology, this situation is not as far off or weird as you may believe.

One good example of these very small devices are GSM bugs. Small, light, virtually undetectable. They can be used anywhere at any time.

GSM bugs are used to listen to conversation among people, or when people are talking into their cell phones or even their home phones. This has, of course, made people suspicious.

You might even be on edge. You might think that there’s somebody keeping tabs on you. If you suspect the hidden listening device, wire voice recorder cameras or some sort of wiretapping device, you can search for anything that looks like GSM bugs in your electronic devices at home.

Look into devices like electric power supplies, radio receivers, wires, or wiring assemblies in walls. These bugs can also be installed inside smoke detectors and any other kind of small device in a room.

I wish I could tell you that GSM bugs will only pick up sound, but they can also include a hidden camera, as well as a voice recorder. In fact, one common trick with these devices is to install them in the eyes of a teddy bear or in the center of a clock.

Usually they’re put in the middle of a room in an item that you wouldn’t suspect as containing a bug.

What kind of information can GSM bugs steal?

GSM bugs are used by some individuals to listen in on conversations. They can also be used to take snapshots of schematics plans or any other information that can be stored in graphical form.

How to search for hidden listening devices

One way to search for all hidden camera devices, listening devices, voice recorders or any type of surveillance equipment is to use an rf sweeper.

Radio frequency detectors, also known as RF detectors or RF sweepers, these devices are used to “sweep” a room microphones, hidden cameras, surveillance devices, and listening devices don’t just absorb sound waves. They do something with that information, they can store it locally on a chip because of space and energy limitations.

Generally speaking, surveillance devices take in signals and relay it to a receiver that will have more power and storage space. This is the weak spot of GSM bugs and other types of recording devices and surveillance.

If somebody is trying to tap your conversation when you run RF scanner, you can detect if there are signals being sent from any part of a room.

You get closer and closer and you can pinpoint the device that is sending out the signal. If you are using an RF detector or scanner and it starts to beep or go wild as you get closer to a teddy bear, you may find out that the eyes of your kids plush toy is a recording device.

How to detect recording devices with your mobile phone

Believe it or not, mobile phones can detect the light that is used in most recording devices.

Turn on your phone’s camera lens and walk around and look at the room through your camera. By doing this, you’re scanning the area for any flashing lights or light variations, which may indicate the presence of a recording device.

Another way you can detect recording is to turn all the lights off and look for any blinking light.

How to use your phone to detect voice recordings

When you are on your mobile or even home phone taking a call, you can use that device to listen for any interference. Be very suspicious of any clicking, buzzing or any weird noises. It may not just be background noise.

To double check, ask the person you’re talking to if they can hear the weird sounds on their end. If it’s only happening on yours, be very suspicious.

If you detect any kind of interference, this might be an indication that there is some sort of recording device picking up your conversation.

This can take many different forms, it could be a hidden camera, a hidden voice recorder, a microphone, or other devices. Why does this happen? When such devices, especially GSM bugs, are near any kind of device, it creates an electromagnetic field. This can cause interference.

At the very least, the device might be creating electronic noise or some sort of static that is erratic and inconsistent. You have to be very alert, because if there are some erratic disruptions in sound quality, it might not just be the line, it might actually be a recording device.

These can take many different forms, it can be hidden cameras, wires, voice recorders, or microphones. Also, they may be in the same area as you or inside the device itself.

Try using a flashlight and walk around any interior space

If you think somebody’s trying to record your conversations as you dictate to your digital voice recorder or mobile phone, look out a flashlight. You can even use the flashlight feature of your mobile phone.

If there are voice recorders, wires, hidden cameras or any other kind of listening device, you usually will be able to pick them out if they are hidden behind mirrors or any other kind of reflective glass inside an interior space.

When you sweep the area with your arm as you hold on to your mobile phone, you might be able to see reflections, and this approach is best used with an RF scanner or detector device.

Beware of WiFi transmissions

Some devices try to fake you out by pretending to be a WiFi device. You might be thinking this is your neighbor’s new router, and not think much of it.

It may turn out that the listening and recording gadget installed in your room is actually sending out signals under a weird WiFi name. Scan for Wi Fi signals and make sure they’re legit. These are very easy to verify, if you’re in a hotel.

In your neighborhood, if you’ve been scanning for Wifi using your devices, you would know what your neighbor’s signal ID is. If something stands out, be very suspicious. Get to the bottom of it. Ask around.

What devices do people use to record voice dictations?

If you’re worried about your voice dictations or any other kind of recorded spoken communications being stolen, or recorded without your permission, be on the lookout for the following devices.

The list of recording gadgets continued to grow almost on a weekly basis. That’s how big this market is.

What kind of devices can record your image, voice or actions?

This is just a shortlist; it’s by no means a complete and exhaustive list. These devices include listening devices, cameras, voice recorders, digital voice devices, microphones, and wires.

They take many different forms like spy pens, USB recording devices, power banks and wrist watches. Typically, they’re small enough to avoid detection, but have enough electronics packed into them to listen and record conversations, several meters away.

In fact, the smallest Digital Voice Recorder currently available in the market, is as small as a paperclip. You would think that its sound quality would be lousy. Considering its miniscule footprint. Think again. It actually has a great recorded sound quality. It comes with 8GB of flash memory.

On top of these features, this paper clip sized digital voice recorder is voice activated. This means that it’s not going to turn on unless and until it detects a voice. This enables the device to prolong its battery life.

Retrieving data from the device is very easy. Upon benchmark testing, paper clip sound recorders have been tested to record as much as 90 hours, with a 10 hour battery life.

Since this gadget looks exactly like a paperclip, you can place it anywhere to listen to anyone at any time. Very few people will notice the devices even there. They basically have to be looking for this type of device for them to even spot it.

When it comes to spy cameras, this type of technology has reached a point where they can easily be installed behind walls. They don’t need much space. They can also see through very small openings.

Recap: Why would anyone listen to your digital voice recorder dictations

Whether you are working for yourself or for somebody else, the information that you dictate is your own intellectual property. At best, when people record that material, they get free content.

Think about it. If you know that somebody who professionally dictates materials is going to be around, there’s a good chance that the transcription of this person’s speech would be somewhat valuable.

At the very least, it won’t be the ramblings of somebody who can’t string sentences with any kind of skill. If somebody records your dictations, that’s stolen content. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

What if you are dictating a sensitive company Information? It doesn’t matter where you dictate, your competitors can easily put sensitive information together to get some sort of competitive advantage.

There are all sorts of dangers that you need to be aware of when it comes to dictations. This is why it’s really important, as a dictation blogger or somebody who uses digital voice recorders or digital dictaphones, to produce content to be aware of this issue.

It is a thing. It’s not going to go away anytime soon. People are always going to be looking for a shortcut. Consider yourself warned.

Just by following the precautionary steps above, you increase your chances of successfully protecting your intellectual property from theft.

Eavesdropping“Eavesdropping” by A. Strakey is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

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