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Is it legal to eavesdrop on someone with a hidden camera placed in their home?
December 14, 2005 10:48 AM   Subscribe

For reasons that don't particularly make sense I believe that someone is spying on me with a camera hidden somewhere in my room. Ignoring for a moment the fact that I'm clearly nuts, what exactly would the law be on this (I live in the US)?

I know what a cliche it is, but recent talk of the beloved patriot act has made me realize that I don't even know if it would be illegal for someone to slither a camera into my bedroom and ride the thrill of my oh-so-exciting bedroom existence. What could I do? If they were really sadistic a well placed speaker and night vision would make for some high comedy as my sanity crumbled into pathetic little bits before their eyes.
posted by Astragalus to Law & Government (49 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
this was a good article when the PATRIOT ACT first was passed. It's still pretty relevant now. Also, check out the ACLU's information.

Also, if you think theres a camera in your room couldn't you also assume there's spyware on your computer? just sayin.
posted by menace303 at 10:53 AM on December 14, 2005


Who do you think is spying on you? It makes a big difference if it's a private party or The Man (i.e. the government).
posted by elquien at 10:54 AM on December 14, 2005


Here's what I found:

New York (scroll down)

Consent of one party is required.

Violation is a felony.

Cellular and cordless telephone communications are protected under state law.


A person is guilty of eavesdropping when he unlawfully engages in the following:

Wiretapping, which is defined as the intentional overhearing or recording of a telephonic or telegraphic communication, by a person other than the sender or receiver, without the consent of either the sender or receiver, by means of any instrument, device or equipment.
One New York court ruled that a mother who listened to her son's telephone conversation through an extension phone violated this provision of the statute because the son explicitly instructed his mother to stay off the extension phone during the conversation and there was no proof that the other conversation participants had consented to her listening. The fact that it was her phone, in her apartment, was irrelevant.
"Mechanical overhearing of a conversation," meaning the intentional overhearing or recording of a conversation by a person not present, without the consent of at least one party to the conversation, by means of any instrument, device or equipment.
In one case, the court ruled that the tape recording of conversations heard through a hole in the floor of an apartment did not violate this provision of the statute because the person doing the recording was "present" during the conversations and the conversations were "freely overheard."
"Intercepting or accessing of an electronic communication," meaning the intentional acquiring, receiving, collecting, overhearing or recording of an electronic communication, without the consent of the sender or intended receiver, by means of any instrument, device or equipment. It is not a violation if the method of transmission is configured so that the communication is readily accessible to the general public.
State courts have ruled that both cellular and cordless telephone communications are protected under the state statute.

Eavesdropping is a class E felony, punishable by up to four years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000 or the amount of the defendant's monetary gain from the violation.
Possession of an eavesdropping device with intent to use it or allow it to be used in violation of the statute is a class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $1,000.
Also illegal (as a class B misdemeanor) is the unauthorized acquisition of information from a telephone company relating to its wires, cables, terminals, and so forth or concerning records of communications passing over its lines. A class B misdemeanor is punishable by up to three months in prison and a fine of up to $500.


Police scanners
It is illegal for someone who is not a police officer or peace officer to equip a motor vehicle with a radio receiving set capable of receiving signals on the frequencies allocated for police use or to use a vehicle so equipped. Licensed amateur radio operators are exempt. Violation is a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, up to six months imprisonment or both.

Civil remedies
The New York statute does not specifically provide for civil damages for eavesdropping. It is not clear whether New York courts would allow a civil suit for a violation of the statute, given the state's traditional reluctance to recognize civil causes of action for invasion of privacy beyond narrow parameters.

Sources
New York [Penal] Law Sections 250.00, 250.05, 250.10, 250.30, 70.00, 70.15, 80.00, 80.05 (Consol. 1997); New York [Vehicle and Traffic] Law Section 397 (Consol. 1997); People v Fata, 559 N.Y.S.2d 348 (N.Y. App. Div. 1990); Sharon v. Sharon, 647 N.Y.S.2d 355 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 1990); People v. Kirsh, 575 N.Y.S.2d 306 (N.Y. App. Div. 1991); People v Dunham, 596 N.Y.S.2d 289 (N.Y. Co. Ct. 1992).
posted by Floydd at 10:55 AM on December 14, 2005


I don't know about the legal issues, but if you own a digital camera, you can find out if they have a night vision device.

Darken your room completely, blocking out all light so that you can't even see your hand in front of your face. Then turn on your camera and look through the LCD preview screen. If the lenscap is off, you should see a nearly black screen. Pan the camera around the room and look for any bright spots that don't appear to your naked eyes. These bright spots are illuminated by an infra-red light source that is beyond the range your eyes montor, but well within your camera's ability to see.

This won't detect ordinary cameras, but it will detect any cameras with IR night vision illumination.

If you don't have any spy cameras in your room, you can point a TV remote control at your camera lens and push the buttons. That should activate the remote's IR LED. You will see bright flashes in the preview screen, even though you can't see them with your naked eyes.
posted by b1tr0t at 10:58 AM on December 14, 2005 [4 favorites]


You're not going to want to do this, but you might just have to head down to the police station, brace yourself, and say, "I know this sounds completely crazy, but..." and conclude with, "So, what should I do?" Try and have something plausible-sounding to pad the middle part of that conversation with.

And really, the worst case scenario outcome of that would be that the cops would investigate, find nothing, and have a chuckle at your expense, which would be pretty humiliating at first, but you'd get over it in time.
posted by Gator at 11:01 AM on December 14, 2005


Regarding b1tr0t's advice: do the last bit first (try finding the remote). Not all cameras pass IR through, some have 'hot mirror's which will block the IR. Trying the Remote thing first should confirm whether your camera would see any other IR illuminator.
posted by daver at 11:07 AM on December 14, 2005


if there's a camera in your room then other parts of your privacy are probably also being invaded. in that case, you're probably better focussing on trying to detect those (assuming you don't have access to the kinds of electronics used to detect other electronic devices). i'd guess that both a physical tail and mail opening would be relatively easy to detect if you tried.

thinking a bit more, the weak links are probably when people come into the loop (both mail opening and tails are manual tasks). these are also the most expensive links in the chain, i suppose. and for intelligence to be useful it either has to be possible to process it in an automatic fashion, or a person has to be involved. i would guess that audio signals can be filtered automatically, but video cannot.

that plays out two ways. a camera is unlikely unless you are "worth" a fair amount, since it requires manual analysis. in which case you are porbably also worth tailing, mail opening, etc (hence the justification for looking for those). but an audio bug is perhaps more likely, since it has lower costs (both in processing and in bandwidth, making automated detection harder).

so if you are specifically worried about a camera, then i think you can detect that level of surveillance, with a little ingenuity. but at the level of audio or below (email, computer use) you have little chance. for a very limited number of applications, cryptography might help you out, but you'd have to be very paranoid, i think.
posted by andrew cooke at 11:08 AM on December 14, 2005


How big is your room?

Have you thought about searching it?

Of course, a real-world search can only confirm the presence of something, not the absence. So...
posted by jon_kill at 11:08 AM on December 14, 2005


(i was assuming government; maybe i misunderstood the problem)
posted by andrew cooke at 11:09 AM on December 14, 2005


And really, the worst case scenario outcome of that would be that the cops would investigate, find nothing, and have a chuckle at your expense

Unless it was the cops that put the camera there, and they are pretending they don't find anything. I think that would be a worse outcome.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 11:21 AM on December 14, 2005


DUDE! You gotta give us more details and you gotta find that camera!

Posting that somone is spying on you and what are the laws is like posting "I am planning on taking over the world, what colour shoes should I wear?"

Give us the details man!

lol, one thing to do is cut all power to your house, in the fuse panel, and then walk around at night looking and listening for anything at all, a small LED, the sound of a camera moving or focusing, etc.
posted by Cosine at 11:31 AM on December 14, 2005


Astragalus, I checked out some of your comments in your other thread about strangers making comments about you. I think maybe you should go see a therapist/doctor. You may have some kind of abnormality that is making you overly paranoid. It's no way to live, and you have to treat the root cause, not the symptoms.
posted by jon_kill at 11:35 AM on December 14, 2005


What jon_kill said. That other thread struck me as incredibly bizarre.
posted by CunningLinguist at 11:43 AM on December 14, 2005


At this point, sadly, you're probably too embarrassed to post any further details, but I would ask at this point what your reasons are for thinking this might be happening. Are you hearing funny electronic-sounding noises? Seeing a funny little light out of the corner of your eye that you can't pinpoint? Thinking you might have heard someone's voice where they shouldn't have been? A vague sense of "being watched" and nothing else?
posted by Gator at 11:46 AM on December 14, 2005


Yup, either Astragalus is trying to yank our chain or he needs to see a doctor about these delusionary symptoms.
posted by camworld at 11:52 AM on December 14, 2005


soma: Yes, I am indeed nuts. Certifiable and card-carrying (two cards actually). Now that my credibility is out the window, here's my story: I've been hearing voices. They generally say threatening and nasty things to me. Whether or not some/all/none of them exist, I have no idea. They talk a lot and manage to stay internally consistent, and they don't involve mind-reading or anything like that. I've listened carefully for a slip-up which would reveal them as either real or inconsistent. So far, inconclusive. However, a few things make me suspicious. For example, I was listening to the (really good) jazz song(?) that A Tribe Called Quest sampled in "We Got The Jazz," a really good tune by whoever the hell. Curious who wrote it I'm about to look at the artist's name when a voice says, "Sonny Lester." I then click and indeed, Sonny Lester it is. Various little things like this have occurred which would imply basically that my brain is a hell of a lot sharper than I am. They seem to observe things that they would have to be able to see. I think I heard them say "fiber optic camera" and the apartment below is abandoned, so I find myself considering increasingly bizarre possibilities. Yes I'm on meds. It's been interesting.
posted by Astragalus at 11:54 AM on December 14, 2005


Yes, you definitely need to see a doctor. Go to your primary care physician and describe your problem to them. He or she will probably refer you to a psychiatrist.
posted by dsword at 11:56 AM on December 14, 2005


Less pot, more antipsychotics.
posted by fred_ashmore at 11:59 AM on December 14, 2005


I should have previewed.

Stop worrying about the camera. If these voices are interfering with your ability to go about your daily things or are making you uncomfortable, it's time to talk about trying something new with your doctor, such as increasing your dosage or trying a different medication. There is no panacea for mental disorders... It's largely solved by trial and error.

Leaving things alone almost always only causes them to get worse.
posted by dsword at 12:00 PM on December 14, 2005


Astragalus: Reading your post I apoloize, my post was not meant to make light of your condition or situation, please go back to your doctor as soon as you can and tell him/her what's been happening.
posted by Cosine at 12:01 PM on December 14, 2005


Anyway, my question isn't whether I'm insane or not. That is pretty well settled. This situation, though ridiculous, is at least conceivable so I'm talking purely hypothetically here. As far as I know I haven't broken any laws or done anything I'm afraid of people finding out, but I figure (hypothetically) that if someone really hated me, or was sadistic or bored enough, they could have some fun at my expense.
posted by Astragalus at 12:02 PM on December 14, 2005


Robocop is Bleeding if you for some reason return to this thread: Funny you say that because the other night I was walking down Houston when I heard someone call me a name, and when I looked up it was David Cross. I'm serious.

Er. Wow. A friend of mine once served both him and Justin Bateman at a local BBQ joint.

Cool info on the whole remote and camera thing. I never knew that before. As for other ways of foiling/finding listening devices, there's always the "play the radio" bit to foil listening devices and one could hang tapestries on the wall to foil cameras that may be planted therein.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 12:02 PM on December 14, 2005


I'm also wondering whether there's a real but bizarrely unlikely component to it that has driven me insane, or whether the insanity came first. Either way, it's not really bugging me that much so it's mostly a just a distraction that at worst makes me a running joke among my friends.
posted by Astragalus at 12:07 PM on December 14, 2005


A. the fact that the situation is conceivable doesn't mean that it is at all likely. If you are on medication and still hearing voices, that might be a reason to start looking for cameras but it is definitely a reason to talk to your doc again. In short, your brain is smart enough to make voices and suspicions seem just this side of impossible, but not always smart enough to realize that the improbability of what you think is happening trumps the possibility enough that you need a second opinion, and not just from us. I have some experience in this area, email is in my profile if you'd like to chat more.

That said, there are hobby groups that discuss issues like this all the time and your specific question might be better placed at a place like spy-l or spy-tech on Yahoo Groups. This article from the San Fran Bay Guardian discusses some legal changes to spying-type legislation in the wake of 9/11 as does this article from the Stalking Resource Center.
posted by jessamyn at 12:13 PM on December 14, 2005


robocop: infrared could probably beat the tapestries, and if not, there's always sonar or perhaps terahertz rays :) Anyway, I've been noticing a lot of suspicion and hostility directed at me which is likely just a reflection of me, but already being perhaps a tad unhinged I figure I'd make a good target.
posted by Astragalus at 12:13 PM on December 14, 2005


Seriously, stop smoking pot if you do. Because I've been caught up in similar bizzare ideas when I smoke a lot, even during the time I wasn't high. It's creepy, because it's convincing.
posted by iamck at 12:14 PM on December 14, 2005


Astragalus I think you're finding hostility in benign remarks. The laws against eavesdropping are quite clear and noted above.
posted by geoff. at 12:18 PM on December 14, 2005


Anyway it's a creepy thought. Maybe I should change my nick to #6.
posted by Astragalus at 12:19 PM on December 14, 2005


robocop: you might want to hold off on giving any more advice to Astragalus, he is in need of medical care, nothing is going on outside of his head. David Cross did not insult him, no one put camera's in his walls, no one is insulting him in public, he needs help, more info from posters on finding cameras and legalities is only fanning the flames.

Astragalus: You admit that you are not in good mental health yet you are still seeking info on your paranoid delusions, do you see the contradiction here, please get help. Poeple care, I have had some dealings with mental health issues so if my experience is worth anything then please work on your problems and not on the problems they create.
posted by Cosine at 12:19 PM on December 14, 2005


Thanks for the clearly sound advice (not being sarcastic). I wonder what exactly would constitute help, as I'm already on meds (and have been mostly fine for a while). The only reliable way I've found to deal with it is to genuinely not give a shit. I'm a nut but a happy nut, and the fort seems to get held down somehow. Thanks again for the help fellers and I'm off to see my shrink!
posted by Astragalus at 12:24 PM on December 14, 2005


Astragalus: one of the wisest things that anyone ever told me is this: people think about you much less often you think they do.

Whenever you worry that you're being spied upon or that you're being followed or that strangers are persecuting you, or that your friends and/or co-workers are conspiring against you, remember those words. It helps mentally balanced folks, but I'm pretty sure it'd help you, too.
posted by solid-one-love at 12:24 PM on December 14, 2005


I agree with solid-one-love: take comfort in the world's overarching indifference. You are on meds you say, but it doesn't sound like the right meds, or maybe not the right dosage. I know it's frustrating to go through the period of adjustment, but isn't it more frustrating to hear voices telling you to do this things you don't want to do, like the world's most overbearing yet invisible mom?
posted by Sara Anne at 12:37 PM on December 14, 2005


You are not being spied on. You are delusional, and you need to see your psychiatrist and tell him what you've told us. Please call him or her now, before you lose all touch with reality.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 2:31 PM on December 14, 2005


You know what, the poster asked whether or not introducing a camera into his/her bedroom would be unlawful. He/she didn't really ask for advice on what to do to find such a camera, and he didn't solicit health advice.

Indeed, it is unlawful nearly everywhere to record peoples' doings without consent, especially in a place like your own bedroom where you have a "reasonable expectation of privacy."

I tend to agree with nearly everyone above that it's much more likely that there is not any recording taking place and that the feeling of being watched is psychiatric in origin; it is a quite common delusion among those card-carrying folks among us who are hearing voices and suchlike.

My advice would be not to worry too much about it.
posted by ikkyu2 at 2:39 PM on December 14, 2005


Much respect ikkyu2, as I think you're one of the best sources of info in the green, but he also asked "What could I do?" This can be read both as an open-ended question and a rhetorical question, so I don't think it's inappropriate for broader advice to be given.
posted by solid-one-love at 2:46 PM on December 14, 2005


It would be inhumane to not offer the broader advice re: getting help. Good god, what kind of community would we be if we didn't try to help people be the best/healthiest they could be?

Astragalus, please keep us updated (perhaps over on MetaChat) on how things are going. As you can see in this thread, people do care.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:08 PM on December 14, 2005


5FF, s/he's got help, and plenty of it. I hope you're not yourself under the delusion that such things can be cured easily, like gallstones or a burst appendix.

Basically you follow along with your psychiatrist, you take your meds, and hopefully the voices and weird feelings come to bother you less. Dwelling on them is the opposite of helpful.
posted by ikkyu2 at 3:10 PM on December 14, 2005


1. You should probably go see a mental health professional!

2. If you have to live with the voices, and they seem to have access to useful information that normal parts of your brain don't, why not investigate further?

Try some memory tests:

Close your eyes, open a dictionary, look at the page for 5 seconds, then close it. Try to recall as many definitions as possible. Do the voices help or hinder this process?

Write out some hard math problems (long multiplication, division, maybe some calculus if you are good at it) but don't solve them. Put them away for a few days, then try to solve them without using pencil and paper. Do the voices help or hinder this process?

Maybe you have more direct access to some of the processing and storage subsystems present in everyone's brain. You might be able to use this to good effect, but you also run the risk of getting stuck in an autistic self-loop.

Be sure to set some boundaries for yourself. If you find the voices telling you to do anything destructive, self harmful, or life changing, write out the instructions, and make some notes about which voice told you to do that. Try to calm yourself down, and re-read the instructions several hours later.

If your brain is playing tricks on itself, then you can't necessarily trust your own memory, but written records could be useful. It might even be helpful to create a private wiki or blog, if you get into some serious research.

SEE A MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONAL! this seems both scary and fascinating at the same time.
posted by b1tr0t at 3:17 PM on December 14, 2005


Astragalus, man, these guys telling you to seek professional help don't know what's going on. It is obvious from your comments that you are not only seeking help right now, but also that you are more than capable of rational thought. I'm here on your same page, and let me tell you why:

I used to drop acid, and when I did, things became much more vivid. Small inconsequential patterns became very significant and noticeable. This caused ordinarily inaudible murmurs to turn into thorough discourses about ME. When I sobered up, the reality of it was that the patterns I was seeing were largely filled in by the trip, not by a heightened sense of awareness. Also, these conversations were just my brain hearing nothing, having its limits turned off by the drugs, and turning it into my state of mind (I think I'm a pretty cautious person, thus the conversation I would "hear" would be something that came out of my own insecurities).

The problem here, though, is that I realized that I was only imagining things when I sobered up. The majority of my time was spent sober, so I had no problem chalking the "experiences" up to being in an affected state. You, on the other hand, only seem to realize that you are imagining things when you are taking something for your imbalance. Thus you might feel "affected" when taking meds, and feel not taking anything is the more natural, more true sense of being. This cannot be further from the truth. The medication is taking your imbalance and fixing it.

You need to turn the "camera conspiracy" into something more constructive. When you feel watched, you should then reflexively feel a need for the medication. You probably feel like two different people are telling you things, and you don't know whom to trust. You need to trust the person who will make you feel more at ease, if anything, just to feel more at ease (i.e. thinking there is no camera will allow you to watch some tv, make some dinner; while thinking there is a camera has you searching the same bookcase over and over for a fiber optic cable that wasn't there before, and isn't there now).
posted by GooseOnTheLoose at 4:05 PM on December 14, 2005


How strange,
Just last week I had an episode while sleeping that caused me to get out of bed with a flashlight, sneak over to, turn off, and put a plastic bag over my ceramic space heater. I was convinced that there was a camera hidden inside the space heater and that the heat it put out was the infrared spotlight it used to see. The blagk shopping bag would be opaque to the camera and would keep the camera from communicating via IR.

I awoke a bit sheepish and cold and I have no Idea why it all made sense at 4 in the morning
posted by Megafly at 4:51 PM on December 14, 2005


This thread really puts this answer from the other thread into terrifying perspective.
posted by interrobang at 4:53 PM on December 14, 2005


I'm not answering your question properly either, but thought I'd add something.
You're probably thinking that people don't realise that you're not questioning your mental health, but that a voice (which is you) seems to know more about what is going on than you do. To paraphrase, "If your voice has been right before, then why isn't it right about this?"

I'd suggest that although this voice probably has a better memory than you do (it being tied more tightly into your subconcious), it's probably worse than you at making sense of the world, it will believe stuff that isn't true and you're probably as good as it (if not better) at spotting hidden cameras.

The only reason it'd know about any cameras is if you put them there, and if that's the case, then I wouldn't worry too much about it.
posted by seanyboy at 5:04 PM on December 14, 2005


I'd also like to add that my own subconscious has freaked me out in the past. I often find myself with one of those song snippets going around and around in my head and it won't go away until I realize there's something in the words of the song that informs some situation I'm dealing with. Also, I sometimes wake up knowing the answer to a problem I've been wrestling with without success awake. So yeah, sometimes your brain knows more than you realize (viz the Sonny Lester thing.)
posted by CunningLinguist at 5:49 PM on December 14, 2005


The only reliable way I've found to deal with it is to genuinely not give a shit.

This might help:

While we tend to think of and treat ourselves as the center-of-the-universe, the cold, sad truth is that the vast majority of us are just average shmoes. You, me, the users on this website. All of us are replete in mediocrity. Oh sure, you can do one or two things really well, or maybe you've got more knowledge about rare 18th century French wines than anyone you know...

My point is, you're not a special snowflake. In fact, you're so boring and typical that it would be simply astonishing for someone to actually take the time out of their lives to place a hidden camera in your room, let alone watch the hours of mind-numbingly boring video of you picking at your navel lint.

So basically, stop worrying about it. You're not even remotely interesting enough to warrant anyone's interest.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:18 PM on December 14, 2005


Astragalus: It sounds to me that your rational mind is aware that many of the things you're experiencing are not truly happening (or, put a better way, not happening outside your mind), and that you're looking for supporting evidence against specific fears and concerns as a way of remaining calm when in the midst of an episode, or when dealing with feelings that episodes leave behind.

I hope you've taken heart from the fact that no matter what the voices say to you, and no matter where your thoughts go in the aftermath of an episode, it is not only extremely unlikely that anyone would go to the lengths implied by what you're asking about simply as a hoax, but it is very definitely against the law for anyone without appropriate legal reason and permission to do so. And anyone who would be surveilling a person for legal reasons (ie law enforcement, etc) is truly not going to advertise their presence in any way.

In fact, you've given us and yourself the best reason to be reassured that it's not happening: you arrived at the concern because of something a disembodied voice 'told' you. Yes, it may seem that these voices have a 'separate intellect' (feeding the fear that they belong to real people who are communicating to you in ways you can't discern), in that they appear to be able to say things to you that you feel you would otherwise have no way of knowing, but the mind can be a subtle and cunning adversary, and you should be aware that it's entirely possible that your disorder can take advantage of cognitive and perceptive delays so that it seems like the voices you are hearing are giving you answers to questions you are about to find out for yourself or already know, in a subconscious way.

I'd like to echo the advice given and questions asked by many others above. You mention that you're on meds, and by that I assume you mean that they were prescribed specifically for your disorder. That leads to another assumption that you have been in therapy with a mental health professional. Are you still seeing that person? Have you discussed these fears with him or her? Have you told him or her that you are hearing voices despite being on meds?

You very much need to speak to someone who has the training to help you make sense of what is happening, and who can assist you through the process of finding a dosage or combination of meds that make your experiences more manageable.

And, by the way, I think it's very admirable of you that you have been willing to discuss this here as openly as you have. However, don't stop with the advice you receive here. Talk about this with someone who is qualified to give you real help. It may be a frustrating and lengthy process (in fact, I guess it probably has already been a lengthy and frustrating process), but it sounds like you are better prepared, with the help of someone who understands your particular experiences, to do something positive about it than many others in situations similar to yours.
posted by planetthoughtful at 8:45 PM on December 14, 2005


Tangential question, no offense meant to Astragalus:

Why do you (meaning the mefi contingent, not the OP) think that this kind of, well to put it bluntly, narcissism is such a common element of mental illnesses? Is mental illness just a state where the brain gets caught in some earlier loop, from our childhood or whatever, where we really did think we were the center of the universe? Is there some common, overarching need that the brain thinks it's addressing in a perfectly healthful way by imagining persecution/importance?

And what is the voice, exactly- is it just one part of our multi-function brain "collective" talking to another part we call the conscious mind? Is it our interior monologue that we no longer recognize as such, where the random synaptic firings and impulses that course under the tarp of our brains all day long- idle thoughts and sexual fantasies and base impulses and emotions, etc- are suddenly rushing through our main "process" of the conscious mind, unchecked and unbidden?
posted by hincandenza at 12:17 AM on December 15, 2005


Aside from the insanity (Which I suffer from occaisionally, esp. when drinking), you may want to look into an RF detector. If you have time and little money they can be built from scraps and a few bits from mouser. Look in the electronics hobby boards for plans, or just order a kit from your local electronics shop. Turn off all electical appliances and unplug everything, then sweep the place. Be wary of false positives and, for god's sake, don't tear up a wall (your neighbor might have a badly shielded piece of equiptment on the other side).
This obviously won't work for wired connections, but those have tell tale wires and can often be found using the methods described above (IR).

The field strength meter in the RatShack(TM) autoranging multimeter can serve the same purpose, but it's not as sensitive.
posted by IronLizard at 9:37 AM on December 20, 2005


i am not sure if the poster is stricken by delusions or not, or if there is someone spying on him. Since there seems to be no physical evidence other than what the poster believes i cant really say..I am going through a similar situation as the poster right now but i do believe I have evidence that something of the same sort is occuring( being spied on watched with camera etc). I am wondering if anyone has some advice because its really strange and im trying to figure out what the heck is going on..

I moved into a 1 bedroom walk up apartment with my gf about a year and a half ago. About halfway through my stay here we came home and there were two flowers on our bed. It was really weird and i was thinking to myself did we bring those in the house? did it come from my pocket and fall on the bed? i went through every thought in my head for hours...and concluded that someone came into the apartment and put them there..for what reason i dont know.We called the landloard and police and changed the deadbolt..I concluded that whoever came in has the keys but it was weird how they didnt take anything..

two days ago this person struck again we left on Christmas eve to get something to east for about 45 min
when we came back our cat was in the bathroom hiding looking mad as heck and thought that it was weird..but then we went to open our presents we only had about 5 to open but one of the presents was MISSING. We had seen the prestns together with the other presents just an hour before but now it was gone..I knew this person struck again.. I sometimes forget to put the deadbolt on and yup this person came when we werent expecting it..I have no idea what this person wants is obvious not my material possesions..the person seems to know when we are leaving and for how long etc..i have looked for camera adio devices but with no luck. Im thinking it is not someone I ever knew before living here and there are only 5 or six people that it could really be...all within the apt. complex
they are the only ones i think that could come in quickly without being seen and who could have gotten a key to my apt. from the previous tenants.Also it would be really hard for them to know we left without some sort of device..i.e. what if a friend of ours or my mother came over when they werent watching us and was in the apt..when we left..we dont have many visitors come over but it is possible and im sure that this person knows that.. My main quetion is if anyone who has studied these kind of people has any insight on what this person is getting at? capable of? does this person want to see my reaction on a hidden camera/audio? Does this person use a camera to know when we left the apt? this is really bothering me..i know i am basically insignificant just like yall have been telling the poster but that makes it even more troubling..
posted by pipsta8080 at 11:04 PM on December 26, 2005


just for a clarification of my previous comment i posted the person did take one present from me, but compared to all the other things i have in the apt: mp3 player, portable DVD (right in the vicinity the presents) it is obvious the person does not care about what they can steal. The taking of only one present? is that just him trying to prove a point or just let me know that he/she came in again? and show me that he/she is capable of much more and is only doing small things for NOW. I mean im not really totally fearful of this person but its obvious that he/she is not normal..it will be really weird though if i find out that it is one of my neighbors beacuse i practically see them everyday(though i dont really KNOW them, i say hi and all that)..might set up a camera of my own but what good will that do if they come when i least expect..
posted by pipsta8080 at 11:36 PM on December 26, 2005


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