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This app promises to find any secret cameras hidden in your Airbnb or hotel room

We’ve all seen those scenes from old spy films. The hero takes out some strange little beeping device with one button and a red light, and somehow unearths a big pile of bugs and cameras. Well now, there’s an app for that… 

Chinese tech giant Baidu is trying to bring this feature to your phone. The company is best known for its search engine, but offers a wide variety of online services and products, including maps and an encyclopedia.

Related: Best VPNs for security and privacy

You might not have heard of Baidu if you’re outside of China, but it’s a huge deal. The search engine is ranked as the fourth largest site in the world by the Alexa internet rankings. It’s bigger than Facebook!

Now, Baidu has come up with an app that allows you to scan for hidden cameras using Wi-Fi networks. Its name translates as ‘Privacy Protection Special Version’ (via Abacus News).

This follows plenty of creepy reports, especially prevalent in China apparently, about people finding hidden cameras in their hotel rooms.

The drawback, however, is that the phone needs to be connected to the same Wi-Fi network as the camera in question. I don’t remember James Bond having that problem.

The idea behind the app is based on the fact that most hidden cameras use Wi-Fi technology, so that the user can monitor the images the camera is taking remotely. As a result, the app should be able to detect cameras connecting to the same Wi-Fi network.

You won’t be able to pin-point exactly where the camera is, but the app will apparently tell you if a camera is streaming video in the room.

Ultimately, there are much more reliable and efficient ways of doing what the app is trying to do, but they require expensive, specialised equipment.

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However, it’s a technology that is increasingly necessary, unfortunately, as plenty of stories of hidden cameras in Airbnb rooms, hotel rooms, and workplaces, keep being uncovered. The Atlantic went as far as to say “Airbnb has a hidden camera problem”. Off-putting stuff, right?

Baidu’s solution isn’t perfect, but it’s a step towards security for people who are worried about being targeted by hidden cameras.

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