Hidden government cameras in digital converter boxes? No.

Wired's Kevin Poulsen explores a strange and clever hoax: the claim that DTV converter boxes contain a hidden camera and a microphone, to enable companies and the state to watch you in your homes. The buzz surrounds a brilliant YouTube video (below).

Here's another video busting the hoax. It's awful quality, but there if you need it to sleep.

Published by Rob Beschizza

Follow Rob @beschizza on Twitter.

Join the Conversation


  1. Well that sucks.
    Good thing I can get my money back.

    I had a few well picked words for the government…or whoever.


  2. Also a lot of people don’t know the significance of those blue cylinders in the background!

    COSTSAVING TIP: Every DTV converter box actually contains 32 AA batteries!

  3. Why would they need to do that, if they already put nano-spybots in the drinking water? That’s why I only drink rainwater and pure grain alcohol.

  4. The Wired article mentions that it has even spurred conspiracies involving “mind control experiments.” I was pretty sure that they had already exposed that one, and that it was called “TV.”

  5. There is a time-honored solution to this situation, one that goes back to the earliest days of humankind…

    When in doubt, KILL IT WITH FIRE!

  6. The YouTube vid that you link to, busting the hoax, was made in extreme low light. What is the point of videoing that thing using the lighting from Christmas tree lights? No, really! What’s up with filming in the dark?

  7. 1. Launch an insidious but really boring conspiracy involving vast sums of money and global macroeconomic systems.

    2. Drum up interest in a ridiculous and fake conspiracy involving the most important thing in consumers’ lives, their TV sets.

    3. While the populace is focused on step 2, continue with step 1.

    4. Profit!

  8. I’m the last person to spread evil gummint conspiracy stories, but I’m willing to bet that there’s at least one FCC middle-management type who’s hearing these stories and thinking, “Damn, why didn’t we think of that?”

    First they put fluoride in the water, and I said nothing because I wanted healthy teeth… 😉

  9. If they really had tiny cameras in them I’d buy one to pull it out and use in my own projects. With the coupon it would be a cheap component source.

  10. @#2 & #19 – Best obscure reference ever! I just listened to that album the other day.

    Public Enemy – It takes a nation of millions to hold us back

  11. before i post this on facebook, why am i the only one on the comment board who is thinking/expressing “I Knew It!”?

  12. This reminds me of the stories when closed caption decoders became mandatory in US TVs.

    There was a contingent of the tinfoil hat society that insisted the CC decoder was a secret spy device to watch you while you watch TV….

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *