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HOAX: Cameras in Digital Converter Boxes

HOAX: Cameras in Digital Converter Boxes

Friday February 20, 2009

Screenshot of YouTube videoLike sugarholics peering into a candy store window, the conspiracy theorists among us are salivating over a YouTube video purporting to show the owner of a Magnavox digital-to-analog TV converter box disassembling the unit to reveal a tiny camera and microphone hidden inside. Supposedly, the device would make it possible for “the government, or whoever” to spy on people.

It’s a hoax.

For starters, the spy equipment would do no one any good unless the boxes were also equipped with wireless transmitters. As can be seen in online photos of the innards of untampered-with converters of the same make and model, not only does the circuit board in the video contain no superfluous electronics, but it’s clear that the miniature camera and microphone were attached haphazardly to ordinary, existing components.

And, needless to say, if such surveillance were actually to take place it would constitute a massive invasion of privacy and be illegal as all get-out. It isn’t realistic. Rather, it’s a tongue-in-cheek enactment of someone’s paranoid fantasy — worthy of a wink and a nod, perhaps, but not our hard-earned credence.——————————-

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