Hidden cameras "everywhere" in Korean hotels

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/08/24/hidden-cameras-everywhere.html


Mom was right. Wear clean underwear.


Arthur Wellesley was right: Publish and be damned.

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What would happen to a private citizen who found and destroyed these spy cams? Would the mafia rough them up? Or is that considered the cost of doing business?

I am truly curious. When I lived in Kazakhstan back in the day, I found a listening device behind a cabinet in my living room. I took it down and destroyed it. About 20 minutes later a sheepish looking young man (from the KNB I assume) knocked on my door and asked me not to destroy any more devices because they were expensive. I told him if they didn’t want me to destroy them, they shouldn’t put them in my apartment. My whole time in the former Soviet Union I just assumed I was being watched, recorded, and followed. Sometimes it was obvious, like clicks on the phone, or the tall gentleman in the purple tracksuit who seemed to be everywhere I went, and I am sure the rest of the time it was more subtle and I never knew about it.

It was a weird experience, both intimidating and liberating.


In 70’s Poland a friend who was an academic professor then found a listening device in his office. It captured sound, modulated it and transmitted as higher frequency signal on the phone line. The reciever was probably in local telephone exchange building and probably was placed by the Security Service. He then sold the device on the black market and it turned out to be seriously expensive (about his monthly pay). Nobody asked about it :slight_smile:
Another friend who knew most important artists of that time was asked several times to become informer for the Security Service and was offered various incentives like permits to travel abroad, but he always refused.


The contrast between the singsongy, casual vibe of the BBC journalist and the severe Joe Friday-esque demeanor of the camera hunter was amazing. Great accidental chemistry! Like at 4:50, when they’re lounging on the bed of the sex motel and she says, “Tell me why motels lend themselves to molka.” You crafty little minx, you just want to make him blush!

I want to watch a romantic comedy/thriller starring these crazy kids as they fall in love under the watchful gaze of his archnemesis, The Peeper.


This is why the Never Nude movement is catching on in Korea.

There are dozens of us! Dozens!!!


“I’m now thinking of all the hotels I’ve stayed in and what I’ve done in the rooms.” LOL


That explains the funny looks when I was in Busan and ordered a Molka Cappuchino! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


Can’t help but wonder if ‘molka’ isn’t a mispronunciation or misspelling of ‘moloko’…

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I, too, have ordered a pizza delivered to my room and then laid it flat on my chest to warm me up while I ate it in bed.


Woah dude, that’s some hot stuff! :joy:


I’m thinking the exact opposite. I now want to travel to South Korea and nude it about in hotel rooms. Give the pervs some middle aged dad-bod so they can re-taste their breakfast!


Interesting. It probably worked like office interphones or older home automation systems such as X10 that use the mains line to transmit voice or data after converting it to higher frequencies (often in the hundreds of KHz max; much higher frequencies would be severely attenuated by a line that isn’t designed for that use). Yes, the receiver (or a repeater) could not be too far away since any device in the middle likely contained filters that would have cut the high frequency signal making the thing useless.
I would be extremely curious to see photos and schematics of the old device if there are any around.


Another interesting thing about that device is that it used transistors that were new and extremely expensive at a time, maybe MOSFETs?

That’s not Jen from the IT Crowd?

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They probably used silicon transistors that were relatively new back then, the reason being their superior stability, smaller size and lower power requirements compared to germanium ones. Those parts were expensive, but being a government agency they had much greater resources at disposal. That approach was genius because building a phone bug that works well with no external power isn’t that easy: phone lines are essentially current loops where the available power for electronic devices is taken from what powers the phone, that is, a few milliamps. Draw too much and the phone doesn’t work anymore (plus the phone company probably detects the anomaly, sends technicians and discovers the bug).
So they built a thing that used the phone line as transmission line rather than making a transmitter that used it as a badly matched antenna with rather low efficiency, which is likely what all electronics magazines published back then. A really elegant solution.


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