Who's Watching You In
Your Hotel Room?
By Wes Vernon
c. 2001

WASHINGTON - Next time you check into a hotel, you may want to consider asking if there are any hidden cameras in your assigned room.
There could be cameras hidden in mirrors, television sets, lamps and even the radio alarm clock on your nightstand.
"What? Hidden cameras in my hotel room? That's like placing a hidden camera in my own home without my knowledge or consent. Once I'm in my hotel room, I'm in my home away from home."
That's your likely reaction.
However, Fox News reports that at least two hotel chains have bought that kind of security equipment. More than that may be involved. In an interview with, Arielle Jamil, director of public affairs for Counter Spy Shops, specialty stores for high-tech spy equipment and devices, did not dispute us when we asked if two hotel chains had bought the spy gear.
Two hotel chains? Which ones?
"We don't disclose the names of our customers," replied Jamil, director of public affairs for the Counter Spy Shop chains.
So why on earth would a hotel want to jeopardize customer relations by risking the appearance of spying on its own guests?
"They buy it for security reasons."
Yes, but that same equipment that can be used for security reasons can just as easily be used to spy on the hotel guest.
"Oh, but they use it only to look into the room at a time of the day when the guest is not there."
You mean in midday when the maids are cleaning?
"Maids, anyone else from housekeeping, engineering if there's a mechanical problem that needs to be fixed." Hotels don't want to be sued by guests who complain that something was stolen while they were out.
Okay, but how does the guest know that some voyeur on the hotel staff won't use the equipment to peer in at a guest? And how does the hotel always know when the customer is out for the day? Some hotel guests keep odd hours.
"Well, you know, we just sell the equipment. We can't be responsible for whatever the buyers choose to do with it," Jamil responded. "It's the same thing with people who sell butcher knives. They don't know if the customer is going to misuse it."
True, there were those who wondered if the O.J. Simpson case would spark a movement for knife control. But there is less temptation for misuse of a butcher knife or a gun. That is why the gun-control movement in this country has been on the defensive of late. Most folks don't want to kill anybody. Putting spy equipment in the hands of a bored night clerk raises all kinds of temptations.
And another distinction: Killing people, of course, is illegal. Spying on people through legally purchased spy or "security" equipment is legal. That's right. There's no law preventing it, especially if it's done in the name of "security."
The Counter Spy Shops are owned by the CCS International Inc., headquartered in New Rochelle, N.Y. Shops are in such far-flung locations as New York City, Washington, Beverly Hills, Miami, Hong Kong, London and South Korea.
Its Web site advertises a wide variety of spy equipment.
One ad says, "Who would suspect a video system to be concealed within the functioning alarm clock radio? CCS presents the most recent advancement in miniature surveillance technology Due to its unique disguise, the camera can shoot pictures discretely even from close up."
Near the picture of a lamp, there is this:
"This hi-tech portable system allows you to monitor in real time, your office, home, store, property, store, garage, or business while you're away." Or hotel room?
CCS says it has been in business since 1959. This is an industry that apparently has been growing. CCS has competition for this market. boasts "the best quality available in Wireless Hidden Camera Systems" that are "so successful because they appear to be everyday items."
Among its advertised "everyday items" containing cameras are an alarm clock radio, a smoke alarm, a wireless wall clock, a picture frame, a lamp, an artificial plant basket, a night light, and even a "wireless tissue box."
Jamil of CCS told NewsMax that the company has many different kinds of customers.
Government agencies?
"Lots," she replied.
That is already universally suspected.
But when you question your privacy in, of all places, your own hotel room, you might think of William Raspberry's recent column in the Washington Post saying that as far as privacy is concerned, the horse is out of the barn., however, will not throw up its hands and give up this fight. Americans are entitled to the privacy they have come to expect. If you lose all privacy, you have crossed the line from a republic to a police state.
Posted by permission of



This Site Served by TheHostPros