Illicit photography is way up in Japan, and police blame smartphone silencers - apps that hush up the sound of taking a picture. Maybe this spy technology will be America's next big cultural import from Asia. God knows we have enough pervs.

Across Japan, illicit photography arrests have gone up 60 percent since 2006, and cops think smartphones are responsible for much of the increase. With some applications, you can not only silence artificial shutter sounds but also display a fake web browser or email client to cover up your real activity. "We can't help but think these apps are designed specifically for taking sneaky photos," a senior police investigator told The Yomiuri Shimbun.

Whether these apps ever truly catch on this side of the Pacific Ocean remains to be seen. Japan does seem to harbor more of this sort of photography than the U.S., perhaps due to its relatively high population density. Apps like Secret Camera and Secret Video are available in Apple's U.S. app store, but the reviews are from tightly-packed Korea. Still, it's easy to imagine this could be a huge market stateside, if only American pervs weren't too dumb to bother hiding their activities.

[Image via Jiri Hera/Shutterstock]