Watching in secret

August 2009 Surveillance

Space TV is distributing the latest in spywear, a watch with a camera built in.

For those who think the proliferation of CCTV and what some are calling OCTV (open circuit TV, or IP-based cameras) in public places is an invasion of privacy, the advances in video technology has a nasty surprise in store. The latest Spy DVR Watch imported and distributed by Space TV makes video surveillance totally portable.

The watch itself is slightly larger than your average wristwatch, but not excessively so. The operation is simple and users are able to take standard video and still pictures with ease. Walking into a meeting or through an office allows the user to record anything for later perusal without attracting unnecessary attention – your watch is almost always exposed and able to record images.

In our test, the reviewer walked into a sales office and recorded the salespeople’s progress for the month as it was recorded on a whiteboard. Looking over someone’s shoulder allowed us to capture images of the documents on the desk, while new designs were easily scanned. The only difficulty in capturing information is to ensure the watch is pointed in the right direction and that your arm is still without making it obvious, a talent that one quickly develops.

A simple USB connection to a computer allows users to download the .avi videos or stil limages to the hard disk and view or use as you please. The connection to the watch gave us some trouble, but one manages to work out the correct positioning to be able to download with ease.

We did not manage to fill the watch’s 4 GB memory, but the distributors claim it can record hours of audio and video. The analogue display looks good, enabling the user to move around unobtrusively while recording at will.

The distributor says the device is "ideal for the security personnel, law enforcement agencies, journalists to fulfil the undercover assignments, like evidence collection, hidden investigation and surveillance, etc. It is also great as a toy for hobby enthusiasts, as body worn solutions.”

Our advice is to make sure you understand the legalities of recording people on the sly in various environments before risking getting yourself into trouble.

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