What is a Wireless Camera Detector?

R. Kayne

A wireless camera detector is a small battery-operated device that scans certain frequencies looking for the signals emitted by hidden wireless security cameras. If it detects such a signal it alerts by flashing a LED light or sounding an alarm.

Wireless camera detectors can look for hidden cameras in hotel rooms.
Wireless camera detectors can look for hidden cameras in hotel rooms.

Wireless security cameras are miniature battery-operated spy cameras that can be hidden virtually anywhere. They transmit a signal to a receiver that can surreptitiously record activity when movement triggers the camera. Commonly called "nanny cams" for their notoriety in catching abusive caretakers in the act, these cameras have also been used to unscrupulously record people in public changing rooms, hotel rooms, public restrooms, in rented apartments and houses and in a variety of settings assumed to be private. Discovering that one of these highly affordable, tiny devices is watching and recording surreptitiously is close to impossible without a wireless camera detector.

An individual may choose to use a wireless camera so as to observe their child's caretaker.
An individual may choose to use a wireless camera so as to observe their child's caretaker.

A wireless camera detector, about the size of a cigarette lighter, is small enough to carry in your pocket or purse. It only needs to be switched on and slowly waved or pointed in various directions. You can walk through your home with it, bring it shopping and use it when you step into a changing stall or restroom, or switch it on anywhere else you expect a high degree of privacy. The detector will quickly confirm your trust or alert you that an intrusive wireless camera is watching.

Wireless camera detectors normally scan from 50MHz to 3GHz at variable distances and channels. Inexpensive units have a modest price tag of $30 - $40 (USD) and a sweep rage of 5-feet (1.5 meters). These devices scan radio frequency (RF) waves and cannot detect closed circuit television (CCTV).

Some wireless camera detectors also locate audio bug devices. Generally these units scan a wider array of frequencies starting in the 2MHz — 10MHz range, up to 3GHz. More expensive models feature locating technology to guide you to the position of the hidden camera or bug.

An alternate wireless camera detector, purportedly used by the military and now available to the public, locates both wired and wireless cams whether they are transmitting RF waves or not (i.e. whether they are turned on or off). This small device uses an array of very powerful LEDs surrounding a viewport. By looking through the viewport and depressing a button to activate the LEDs, you can slowly scan the room where cameras might be suspected. Any camera lens present, no matter how small, will create a sharp reflective pinpoint of light in the viewport. These units start at about $200.

As miniaturized spy technologies have become affordable and proliferated, potentially compromising security and privacy, counter technology continues to move forward as well. Wireless camera detectors, bug detectors and cell phone detectors are all examples of this growing industry.

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Discussion Comments


I wonder what the legality of placing cameras around your home is when you employ people to clean and look after your children.

I can understand why a nanny or maid might want their own wireless camera detector to see if they were being watched without their knowledge.

I think it is one thing to use CCTV as a deterrent for crime, but completely another to conceal cameras around your home and property.

Are there any laws preventing you from monitoring inside your home without telling the people that come in that they are being recorded? Or would it be part of your rights as a homeowner?


I think as technology continues to improve and get smaller, people have to be prepared to protect themselves from people who would use this new gadgetry to invade the privacy of others.

I was watching a news special that showed how easy it was to place spy cameras. They also warned that with the proliferation of pornography sites claiming they have streaming access to public washrooms, hotel rooms and changing rooms, it has becomes really important for women to be cautious in public environments.

These small wireless camera detectors can fit in your purse, and I think it is worth your piece of mind to carry one. While some may think you're being paranoid, it is just far too easy to watch you anywhere.

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