Friday, December 14, 2012

Detecting a Two Way Mirror Spy Myths Exposed

Fear-peddling Fairies Aren't Doing You any Favors and Alarmist Santa Isn't Bringing You a Gift. 

 by The Self Defense Mythbusters in cooperation with Nottingham Sword & Shield Security, Hit Like a Girl, VIPER Violence Survival School and USA Martial Arts

Are you being spied on with a two way mirror?

Here's another one that keeps making its rounds.  A healthy bit of skepticism is important - especially when it comes to safety advice.  Be cautious of to whom you listen.  The truth will set you free and FREE advice can be the most expensive kind.

How can you tell when you are in a room, restroom, motel etc. with a mirror or a 2-way glass?
Here's how: I thought it was quite interesting! And I know in about 30 seconds you're going to do what I did and find the nearest mirror.
Do you know how to determine if a mirror is 2-way or not? A policewoman who travels all over the US and gives seminars and techniques for businesswomen passed this on.
When we visit toilets, bathrooms, hotel rooms, changing rooms, etc., how many of you know for sure that the seemingly ordinary mirror hanging on the wall is a real mirror, or actually a 2-way mirror (i.e., they can see you, but you can't see them)? There have been many cases of people installing 2-way mirrors in female changing rooms . It is very difficult to positively identify the surface by looking at it.
So, how do we determine with any amount of certainty what type of mirror we are looking at?
Just conduct this simple test: Place the tip of your fingernail against the reflective surface and if there is a GAP between your fingernail and the image of the nail, then it is GENUINE mirror. However, if your fingernail DIRECTLY TOUCHES the image of your nail, then BEWARE! IT IS A 2-WAY MIRROR!
"No Space, Leave the Place" So remember, every time you see a mirror, do the "fingernail test." It doesn't cost you anything.
REMEMBER. No Space, Leave the Place:
Ladies: Share this with your girlfriends, sisters, daughters, etc.
Men: Share this with your wives, daughters, daughters-in-law, mothers, girlfriends and/or friends.

This detection method is flawed and more folly than helpful safety advice.  Issue some pseudo-self-defense advice, tack on a nice diagram for credibility and an appealing tag line that rhymes and people are far more likely believe it then forward it on to friends.  Now ad some scary words in capital letters and throw in a few exclamation points and you have the beginnings of a viral internet letter or social media post.  Although people have pure intentions by passing these on, they are inadvertently perpetuating a common safety blunder that can suppress safety judgment, and scramble innate survival intuition.

The above example is not factual because the reflection of the mirror is determined by the manufacturing process, lighting, type of mirror, backing and coating.  The finger nail method is more likely to identify a first surface or second surface coating, both common mirror types.  All of these factors can create the conditions to thwart this urban myth test - a test which might lead to some undue anxiety or even embarrassing choices.

Detecting Observation Mirrors or Two Way Mirrors

Here are some better methods of detection of two way glass or covert surveillance:
1. Most two way mirrors are mounted into a wall, rather than hung on a wall.
2. Cup your hands around the sides of your eyes and press up against the mirror to block light. Often you can see through to some degree.
3. Two way mirrors tend to appear darker than regular mirrors and thus can prompt further investigation.
4. Rapping on the mirror can indicate if it has something behind it or not based on the sound.  Transparent mirrors tend to not have anything behind them and may produce a more hollow sound.
5. If you can turn off lights in your room it will be easier to detect as well.  The two way glass requires the light in the reflective room side to be bright while the observation side to be dark.  Often the mirror will be exposed if someone leaves the observation side dark room and leaks hallway light in through the door.
6. Angle a light source against the mirror such as a flashlight.  You will usually see light penetration on the other side.

So before Alarmist Santa brings you another free holiday gift, make sure it's not a lump of coal.  Peace on Earth, Goodwill Toward Mankind.

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