If you've ever fancied being a spy but only gone as far as listening into someone else's telephone conversation then a new range of industry spyware could be the answer.
No longer the preserve of professional detectives or secret agents, a world of surveillance gizmos is open to anyone who visits websites such as www.spyequipmentuk.co.uk and www.spymaster.co.uk. There the novice is confronted with minute cameras, homing devices and bugs. For Dh80 or so you can buy a widget that tells you what people are text messaging your partner.
Now that's spying.
With minimal effort, it means anyone can acquire the ability to turn spook. Of course, there some legal implications in using parts of this kit, and it all depends on the context.
There will also be moral questions to answer if you're trying to discover a cheating partner or find out the work gossip. Here are some ideas.
What's on offer?
The Sim Recovery Pro Illicit text messages, late-night calls, unknown numbers – mobiles phones are a veritable treasure-trove of information. So what's a wannabe sleuth to do? Simple – tap straight into their Sim card with the Sim Recovery system. Whip out their sim card, slot it into the Sim Recovery Pro USB stick, and then insert the stick into the USB port on your computer.
Bingo. Displayed on your computer screen will be the entire contents of that phone. Their phone book, text messages and even deleted text messages, will be right there for your perusal – you can even print it out.
Mains Extension with GSM Audio The Mains Extension with GSM Audio looks and works like a standard extension lead. The only difference is that this one allows you to listen into every conversation taking place within a 15-metre radius of the device, with sounds transmitted to your mobile phone. Plug the extension lead into a mains outlet, wait 10 seconds, then use your mobile to text a code to activate the device.
You can then choose from a range of settings, including a "voice activation" option. This means that if the GSM picks up voice sound, it will automatically switch on and start recording, while alerting you via your phone to this activity. You can then call the device and listen in.
The Key Shark Pinging around the world all day, every day, are the billets-doux of the Noughties – e-mails. There is no juicier read than a love letter, but intercepting these modern missives is a little more difficult than rifling through their mail. Unless you're in possession of a Key Shark, that is.
This sounds sinister, and rightly so. Plug the Key Shark in between the keyboard and the computer and it will record every single keystroke that is typed, including passwords and special characters. Discreet enough to go unnoticed, you attach it to the keyboard, unplugging it and reattaching it to your own computer whenever you fancy a good read. With this device, the inbox is no longer an impenetrable fortress, but an easily accessible window into your partner's private life.
Car Tracker If you're paranoid that your partner might be up to no good, every moment that they are away from the workplace – and you – is time when they could be with someone else. You need to be able to find out exactly where they are, at any moment of the day. But how?
While donning a disguise and trailing your partner is always an option, what you really want is to be able to do is follow them from the comfort of your living room, and the Find It tracking system does just that.
Billed as "a versatile way to track high-value mobile assets" this little black box can be attached to almost any vehicle. The tracker uses GPS technology to keep tabs on exactly where the vehicle is – information which it then relays to a computer.
Load the mapping software on to your computer, send the unit a message asking for its position, and it will respond with latitude and longitude location points, the street level position also pin-pointed on a map. You can also use the unit to create a "virtual fence" around your partner, with the tracker alerting you only once the vehicle has travelled out of its "permitted" boundaries.
Super mini-ccd camera Home surveillance is tricky. While new electronic equipment may go unnoticed in an office, people tend to be pretty familiar with the contents of their own living room. Any obtrusive additions are likely to be detected straightaway, so this calls for subtle spying. Which is where the Sony CCD pinhole camera comes in.
This camera is the smallest on the market, and can be squeezed into the tightest of spaces. Encased in black housing, it only needs a hole the size of a pin prick to see through, and blends in seamlessly alongside televisions, radio-alarm clocks, curtain rails and so on. And it can transmit high-resolution images even in low light. These are relayed – along with sounds in the immediate proximity of the camera – down a slim lead, to the main body of the camera. This has an AV connection that you can hook up to anything from a DVD or video player to an MP4 recorder, allowing you to sit back and enjoy the private show.
Landline Bug (UHF) The self-powered phone bug is supposedly easy to fit, but might prove tricky for technophobes. If you do manage to attach this device to the speech wires in your partner's phone socket, you will be able to eavesdrop on all their conversations. The bug itself is powered by the telephone line to which you have attached it, so there is no need to change fiddly batteries.
When a call is made or received from the phone line, the bud transmits this audio from the landline to a receiver, placed within a certain radius of the bug.
Both sides of the conversations are transmitted, and the receiver can be connected to a voice-activated recorder – so you won't have to listen to hours of yawning silence in search of any incriminating chats.
Brilliant. But there is a catch. If you are caught operating one of these bugs, you may be in trouble – and not just with your partner.