When Sony Accidentally Launched Camcorders That Could “See Through” People’s Clothes


Short Bytes: In 1998, Sony accidentally released a Night Vision camcorder that had the ability to see through people’s clothes. The situation was discovered by Greg Hunter who demonstrated the same with the help of two volunteer models.

It was in 1998 when the Japanese electronics giant Sony was careless enough to release 700,000 camcorders that had the adroitness to see through people’s clothes. As soon as Sony realized what havoc it had caused, the camcorders were immediately recalled.

The camcorders having a visual appearance similar to a normal were equipped with a lens that uses IR (Infrared Rays) to allow a person to take pictures in the dark, termed as Night Vision. Dark clothes like swimsuits went transparent in front of those camcorders and it was in no matter of time, nude pictures of ladies were trending on the internet. “At least 12 Web sites feature pictures of women who look almost naked, even though they are wearing clothes or a swimsuit,” writes ABC.

The see-through power in Sony’s camcorder was discovered by Greg Hunter, who was the Customer Correspondent at Good Morning America back in 1998. Hunter demonstrated how the camcorder was comfortable enough to peep inside the clothes of two volunteer models. A man who had a tattoo “Sosa” under his shirt and a woman who was wearing nothing under her black patterned skirt.

Sony tried to ameliorate the situation by launching new camcorders that lacked see-through powers, but people were eager enough to find new ways to revamp the camcorder and impart see-through powers, which was done by the use of special filters. Such camcorders went on sale for as high as $700. However, Sony was bold enough to take no responsibility for those modified camcorders.

Questions about the legal offenses as a consequence of widespread use of the Sony camcorders were raised, that the judicial system was incompetent to deal with such situations, as no law could be used to charge such offenders. Although, wearing clothes does come under an individual’s privacy.

It’s an outrage — I think it would outrage anyone. You go out in the street you don’t expect people to look under your clothes. It’s such a basic expectation that any court in the country would find that this violates that right.

— said Martha Davis, the then director of the National Organization for Women’s Legal Defense fund. She is currently working as a Professor of Law at the Northeastern University, Boston.

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