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The prevalence of spy cameras and surveillance devices in domestic settings, particularly in the UK, is a cause for concern. Mainstream retailers and online platforms like Amazon and eBay have made it disturbingly easy for individuals to obtain these devices, often disguised as innocuous household items. This accessibility enables abusers to covertly monitor and control their victims without their consent. 
There has been an increase in the use of smart speakers and other connected devices equipped with cameras and microphones, which further exacerbate the issue by enabling intrusive surveillance within private spaces like bedrooms. Experts warn against the normalisation of placing such devices in intimate settings without considering the profound implications for privacy. 
Numerous cases of victims discovering multiple recording devices concealed throughout their homes underscore the severity of the problem. Despite the evident violation of privacy and the potential harm inflicted by these devices, the absence of clear legislation governing their use poses a significant obstacle to effective intervention. 
Emma Pickering, a spokesperson from Refuge, a women's charity, advocates for stricter regulation of spy cameras by both tech retailers and government agencies. Pickering emphasises the importance of proactive measures to restrict the accessibility of such devices to potential abusers. 
There are many ways to track people with everyday technology. Here is what to do if you think you are being spied on by a partner, and how you can block tracking. 
Do not remove trackers until it is safe.  
If you are in an abusive relationship and you think you have found camera or other devices that are tracking you, don't remove them. Instead, seek expert help, and create a safety plan. Emma Pickering says, "It's really important that you try and speak to somebody to create a safety plan, but not to do so within the home. Use a safe phone...or a burner phone...outside of the property and speak to somebody like the National Domestic Abuse Helpline (0808 2000 247). 
Spot the signs of surveillance.  
There are often telltale signs that abusers are installing surveillance equipment. "They will suddenly do a fair bit of DIY." Explains Ms Pickering. "...because what we've noticed they like to do is hide them [cameras] behind light fittings and things like that." Another common place for recording devices is the USB ports on the back or sides of televisions.  
Is my phone being tracked?  
The easiest way to track someone's phone is with the built-in services created by Apple and Google. These are usually used to help locate lost phones, however they can also be used by controlling partners to keep tabs on someone's location. On iPhones, you can open the Find My app, and see if your device location is being shared. On Android, open settings and search for 'find my device', and see if it is switched on for your phone. There are also plenty of third-party apps that track location, which may have been installed when you weren't looking. Again, don't switch off tracking until you've sought help and created a safety plan. Other ways people can track your location Apple’s AirTag devices are handy for locating lost luggage, but they can also be used to track people. They are all too easy to slip into someone’s bag, coat, or car without permission. In fact, Apple has taken measures to make these trackers easier to spot. If you use an iPhone, for example, you might get an alert on it if it detects a nearby AirTag that’s not within range of its owner’s iPhone. If you’re an Android user, you can perform a manual scan for rogue AirTags with the Tracker Detect app. The AirTag should also make a beeping sound if it is separated from its owner but only after a day or two. Be wary of everyday devices It’s not only dedicated spyware equipment you need to consider. Many ordinary devices routinely cause problems, too. For example, Amazon Echo speakers have a feature called “drop-in” which allows device owners to eavesdrop on conversations in the home when they’re not there. Smart doorbells, baby-monitoring cameras, or pet cameras can also be used for similar purposes. Don’t assume that these innocent gizmos are always being used for their original intended purpose. 
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