So secret agent James Bond may have access to ejector seats and the latest spy gadgets supplied by his genius inventor, but are spy spectacles for ordinary civilians a step too far? When walking past a stranger on the street, you could unknowingly be playing the starring role in their secret movie.
Retailing at prices ranging from £40-£700, spy glasses are ordinary glasses/sunglasses with a covert video camera embedded in the frame, allowing the wearer to record everything within sight. The PDLGLASSDV glasses feature a new DV5-ECO high definition, colour digital video recorder, all so small it could fit in a cigarette packet. With a wide angle lens, it is possible to record everything you see through your glasses, all stored on an SD memory card for instant downloading and playback.
In addition, the camera can be controlled with a tiny built-in control to activate the camera at the touch of a button, meaning your hidden camera can remain secret. The sleek design in a classic glasses frame shape means that no one will suspect they are being filmed, and with interchangeable lenses, they can be worn in any situation. The Active-I brand of spy glasses feature a detachable LCD viewer to provide instant playback of your recordings and with high-definition capabilities, they promise to deliver excellent clarity video.
The glasses would be ideal in situations when a hands-free recording of an event is required, for example, sporting events. But although in most cases the glasses are marketed as being ideal for extreme sports fans, journalists and personal shoppers, what would be the dangers of these gadgets in the hands of ordinary people intrigued by the chance to secretly spy on those around them?
The media has recently reported the ongoing debate surrounding CCTV surveillance and to what degree it is acceptable to monitor the public. Whilst it can be a useful safety measure for preventing crime, many people are uncomfortable with the idea of being monitored during the day, as it is seen as a breach of freedom and privacy. And with this new technology, the potential for increased covert surveillance by police officers and law enforcers holds an alarming possibility. Could this latest invention be taking us a step closer to the 1984-style ‘Big Brother’ state feared by many anti-CCTV campaigns? On the other hand, could spy glasses provide a vital development in crime-prevention to record the evidence needed to convict the guilty?
Regardless, spy eyewear provides a unique opportunity to film special events and preserve memories which may otherwise be lost, all within a lightweight, stylish glasses frame.