A new type of “silent app” for smartphones has made possible a big increase of voyeuristic, illicit photography in Japan.
According to Mercury News data, a number of 1,741 incidents were recorded last year, a 60 percent increase compared to five years ago.
Among the specially designed “stealth photo” applications for smartphones, there are some that are hiding what the user is doing by displaying a normal looking text, or an email, on the screen while he or she is taking photos.
Online application market places like those for the iPhone or Android are currently selling dozens of silent camera software, some marketing themselves explicitly as helping the user take “stealth photos”.
Such applications may also be used for crimes, Japanese academics have warned.
Since online markets are not strictly regulated and many other sources are also available, preventing users from downloading and installing such applications may prove a difficult task.