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Candid photography has become the ubiquitous division of labor in China’s black industry | Camera | Mini camera | E-commerce platform

[Epoch Times December 28, 2021](Interviews by Hong Kong Epoch Times reporters Yi Fan and Zhang Zhongyuan) At 2 am, a lady walked into the bathroom to take a shower. She didn’t know that there was a working camera hidden in the exhaust vent above the bathroom. This is a candid shot seen by a CCP official media reporter in a chat group. If you want to continue watching, you have to pay to enter the live broadcast group. At this time, hundreds of people were watching in the group.

According to a report on December 22 by the official media “Rules of Law Daily”, sneak shots in China have reached a point where people’s privacy has been sold at will, and they are quite cheap.

The black industry of sneak photography has existed in China for many years. The reporter discovered in several chat groups undercover that after recent years of development, the current division of the sneak photography group has become more and more refined: some specialize in toilet photography and some specialize in hotel photography. There are also secretly filmed live broadcasts. There are also groups that candidly take pictures of others who have disappeared, and take pictures of private parts through upskirts. In addition, there are special shootings of flight attendants on airplanes and groups of students in schools.

Candid photos are naturally inseparable from micro cameras. The reporter searched multiple Chinese e-commerce platforms and found many shops selling such products, but the shops didn’t know what to say. They sell lighters, USB flash drives, car keys with night vision functions, camera glasses, power banks, and even daily necessities such as facial cleansers, electronic alarm clocks, razors, Bluetooth speakers, perpetual calendars and so on that have been modified into candid photography equipment. According to the seller, these cameras can be used for long standby time and can also be monitored remotely. The price ranges from a few hundred yuan to 2,000 yuan (US$310).

There is also a modified candid mobile phone whose camera is extremely concealed and difficult to be discovered. A mobile phone camera customization seller said that the modified mobile phone looks no different from a normal mobile phone. The camera is located on the earphone or on the side, etc. Put the phone flat on the table, and you can also take pictures of nearby objects. This kind of mobile phone sells for one to two thousand yuan. If the buyer mails their mobile phone, the modification will only cost 120 yuan ($19).

In addition to these deliberately installed sneak shots, many people now install surveillance cameras in their homes for safety. As everyone knows, this market is also being targeted by some criminals, who use hacking techniques to hack and control home cameras and turn surveillance cameras into hidden cameras.

Many home cameras use initial default user names and passwords, and the wicked can use hacker software to scan devices with weak passwords to break the IDs of these cameras. Then they use programs with Trojan horses to gain unauthorized access to the surveillance cameras, so as to remotely control the surveillance cameras and realize the functions of online viewing and playback of surveillance videos.

In addition to various sneak shot devices, there are also some mobile phone applications (Apps) that have powerful secret shooting functions, such as support for the phone to take pictures on the lock screen and in the background, support for silent and background photography, and support for private storage.

Profiteering

Secretly photographed people can make huge profits by selling secretly photographed pictures or videos.

In multiple chat groups, these pictures or videos are clearly marked with prices, and you can watch hundreds of “works” as long as they range from a few yuan to a few hundred yuan. There are also groups that pay a one-time membership fee, such as 88 yuan or 128 yuan (14 US dollars or 20 US dollars), you can join the group to see the contents, and there may be updates in the future. The group owner encourages more people to participate-if you bring your own “original works”, you can get free entrance fee.

Some people sell cracked camera IDs, and you can buy hundreds of IDs for one or two hundred yuan. In a chat group, some sellers claimed that they can buy and watch 30 family pairs, family toilets, SPA massage shops, locker rooms, and hotel cameras for only 220 yuan (35 US dollars) for 320 yuan (55 US dollars). 60 units can be purchased, and 100 units can be purchased for 420 yuan (65 US dollars). The higher the price, the more private and targeted the location of the camera.

The sneak shots are able to make money because all of this can be sold repeatedly, and the seller does not need to increase additional costs. According to a case published on the CCP’s court website in June this year, each camera can generate 100 invitation codes for hundreds of people to watch online at the same time.

In addition to dissemination and sale, there are also sneaky photographers who adopt a more eager way of quick success-sending the sneaked content directly to the person being photographed, and then extortion. According to an analysis article published by the official media surging.com in March this year, nearly 30% of sneak shots took this approach.

Weak prevention

Hotel sneak shooting incidents have been reported in almost all major cities in China, whether it is a short-term hotel or a five-star hotel, sneak shooting incidents have intensified in China in recent years.

A 2019 report by the Chinese portal Sohu.com quoted a hotel owner with ten years of experience as saying that, legally speaking, the hotel does not need to bear any joint and several liability for the sneak shots; from the cost point of view, the addition of such a complicated test Procedures, hotel profits may be cut in half. Therefore, they have no incentive to do a better job of protecting customer privacy.

Although the CCP’s management department also said on the surface that it would crack down on sneak shots or symbolically arrest some criminals, the actual punishment is very slight.

According to Article 42 of the Public Security Administration Penalty Law of the Communist Party of China, anyone who voyeuristically takes pictures, intercepts, or spreads the privacy of others shall be detained for up to 5 days or fined up to 500 yuan (US$78); if the circumstances are serious, he shall be sentenced to more than 5 days and 10 days. The following detentions may be concurrently fined less than 500 yuan.

In March of this year, Mr. Zhou of Xiamen City illegally hacked 235 cameras on 43 other devices. He was sentenced to 6 months in prison for “illegal control of computer systems” and fined 3,000 yuan (US$470).

Li Yiming, a media person living in Japan, told The Epoch Times reporter that the nature of the CCP regime determines that the CCP police are not interested in cracking down on secret photography crimes. He said: “The main job of the CCP police is to maintain the stability of the CCP regime. Ordinary people are the targets of police surveillance and attack. How can they provide good services to those under their control?”

Editor in charge: Lian Shuhua#

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