Covering up your webcam to prevent creeps from peeping on your private life may be a hallmark of paranoia, but don't tell that to the feds. According to The Hill, FBI Director James Comey yesterday (Sept. 14) advised that putting pieces of tape over laptop cameras is one of the "sensible things" that ordinary Americans should be doing to protect their privacy.
A webcam sticker on a Dell XPS 13 laptop.
Comey equated webcam stickers to more obvious security measures.
"I hope people lock their cars. Lock your doors at night," he said during a panel discussion at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C. "If you have an alarm system, you should use it."
Comey first admitted that he taped over his laptop's camera in April, during a Q&A session at Kenyon College in Ohio. Back then, he acknowledged that he shares the public's anxiety about technological security.But given that he leads one of America's most important law-enforcement agencies and is hence a very high-profile target, it may be surprising that he advises everyone to take the same measure.
"You do that so that people who don’t have authority don’t look at you," Comey said yesterday. "I think that’s a good thing."
Laptop cameras are relatively easy to hack, and Comey's advice has merit. However, the average person's webcam is more likely to be hacked by a pervert who wants to see you naked rather than by a law-enforcement or intelligence agency.
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