Five must-have spy gadgets for the age of surveillance

Sponsored feature: presented by Kingsman: The Golden Circle

Spy gadgets aren’t just for global intelligence agencies or secret government programs anymore. Thanks to ever-growing internet retail operations and rapid advances in consumer technology, the average citizen can enjoy ready access to a massive array of high-tech devices to keep an eye on pets, homes or any conspiratorial double-agents.

To celebrate the release of Kingsman: The Golden Circle – the sequel to 2014’s Kingsman: The Secret Service – we’ve rounded up five of our must-have spy gadgets that you can either pick up in Toronto stores like Spy Tech or from a variety of online retailers like Amazon.

GPS tracking device

Keep track of anything from a car, bike or dog no matter where it goes. GPS tracking technology utilizes satellites to locate and follow almost anything that can carry these small devices around. Some products are specifically made for covert tracking and can be attached to the exterior of a car or slipped into a backpack, while others are more overt and meant to find car keys or a purse.

GPS tracking devices now often feature associated apps for your smartphone, so you can get on-the-move updates should your bike make an unexpected getaway to another part of the city. The most important thing to consider when purchasing one of these devices is the battery’s life expectancy and whether you can charge it.

Disguised audio recorder

Despite the decades of cop movies that have suggested the only way to secretly tape a conversation is by wearing a bulky wire taped to your chest, the advances in consumer technology make it clear that we have more options than ever to turn a quiet conversation into a rock-solid digital recording.

Your smartphone app store will likely have a number of options to fulfill this purpose, but fiddling with your phone can make your intentions obvious to someone you’re trying to record – even in innocent circumstances like a public lecture. That means the classic disguised audio recorder will still remain useful for years to come. The more common the object (e.g., a pen or keychain) the better your chances will be to keep things inconspicuous.

Diversion safe

Hiding your valuables inside an impenetrable safe stashed behind an old painting on the wall is not only old-fashioned, it’s also costly and unnecessary. Hiding jewels, wads of money or keys to a secret storage locker in plain sight can often be more effective by drawing less attention.

Deceptively simple diversion safes transform some of the most mundane objects into mobile safes – from a fully functional but hollowed-out power bar to a lint roller, can of Coke or bottle of WD-40. Some of these objects can feature complicated locking mechanisms, but most maintain their simplicity with a simple screw-off lid with an inner stash spot.

Motion-activated hidden camera

With the advent of HD-quality video and increasingly sophisticated wireless cameras, you can now place one of these devices anywhere you think you need a pair of reliable eyes and the results will be crisp and clear. But video recorders suck up a lot of battery juice and a powered-down camera is pointless.

Many new motion-activated cameras come in disguised casing – like a smoke detector or a flash drive – and save storage space by turning on only when there’s visible movement in front of the motion sensor. As with other surveillance devices, some cameras can also be synced to your smartphone through a monitoring app.

Wireless camera detector

If you think you’re being surveilled, then maybe it’s time for a device that can tell you whether your suspicions are true. Wireless camera detectors come with a variety of functions, from simple lens detection to wireless signal detection. Some devices will even show you the video feed that’s being recorded so you can narrow down where the camera is located.

Higher-end detectors have adjustable signal sensitivities, which means you can search your immediate area to the corners of a larger room. Some device features can include a vibrating function – so if you have it in your pocket as you’re walking into an unfamiliar place, you’ll be notified the moment a camera is detected.

Celebrate the release of Kingsman: The Golden Circle and visit the Kingsman Digital Residency!


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