Can Spy On:
Anybody with a window.
How It Does It:
Here's the thing about "bugs," even if they're attached to living cockroaches. They have to emit radio waves in order to transmit their signal back to the listeners, which means they're pretty easy to detect. With the right tools you could scan your apartment right now to see if the feds are listening in.
Then, if they want to replace them, they still have to break into your place without you knowing it. So if you really wanted to make sure they weren't listening in, you could stop them, right?
That should do it.
Wait, do you have any windows? Then no.
All they need is a laser microphone. Sound is nothing more than vibrations created in the air. Your thin windows vibrate ever so slightly with every sound (the same principle that lets a certain pitch of voice break glass). So if somebody outside your house can capture that vibration, they can "hear" what's being said quietly inside the room.
It's very easy to do. All they need to do is fire a laser at the glass at an angle, and set up a second device to "catch" the reflecting beam. As you talk, the sound wiggles the window, which makes the beam bounce. The listening device can interpret those bounces and translate them back into sound.
Of course, this kind of expensive, high-end device is only available to spy agencies... oh, wait, no: Here's a guide on how anyone can make their own laser listening device with stuff you can easily buy off the shelf.
But you'll see this laser beam firing through your window, right? And probably see the red dot on your wall and assume there's a sniper out there? Not quite. The device doesn't need visible light to work. You'll never know they're doing it. Isn't science awesome?
Smug bunch of labcoat-wearing pricks.
3Floating Car Data
Can Spy On:
Your every vehicular movement.
How It Does It:
Most people don't realize they've got a tracking device in their pants. Yep, even you have something that will reveal far too much about you. In your pants. Waiting to reveal embarrassing truths.
"Bitch hasn't washed her pants in weeks."
We're referring to your cell phone, of course. We've mentioned before that governments really like being able to figure out who's going where and how often--particularly in an automobile--because that's how they'll tax you in the future. But installing a device in each and every car is annoying and hard to do, and the device can fail or the driver might get mad and remove it.
So people who want to track your driving habits needed another method. Sure, they could install CCTV cameras everywhere, but that would get expensive. Besides, people tend to freak out at the sight of cameras every two blocks, watching where they go. Surely there's a less intrusive, and less expensive way to track where everyone is going...
Without resorting to Plan Ninja.
Which of course brings us to the fact that they can simply track your cell phone. It turns out that even when it's not making calls, your cell phone is still pumping out enough signal to tell anybody listening where you're going, and how fast you're getting there. This data can be used to determine your direction, speed and rough location at any given time.
If you're paranoid about this, you can tell if they're tracking you by... well, you can't. They don't need a special antenna or dish or anything that would let you know they're watching - they can just capture the data right from the cell phone company's own network.
Of course, this is done purely to monitor traffic flow and there's no reason to believe that anyone would ever leak the fact that you, say, visited a strip club, or a known pot dealer or an adult book store. So what are we worried about? In fact, we also shouldn't be concerned about...