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FBI director assumes someone is spying on our webcams all the time21

Published Sep 15th, 2016 9:00PM EDT
Laptop Camera Cover Comey

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FBI Director James Comey, a strong opponent of Apple’s way of encrypting software and hardware, just told us again that covering up that computer webcam with a lid is recommended. That means he strongly believes people can spy on you on devices that aren’t secure.

Imagine a world in which the iPhone would run an unencrypted version of iOS. We’d probably have to put fancy camera covers both on the front and the back of the device. Either that or accessory makers would simply sell premium cases that don’t have camera cutouts.

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“There’s some sensible things you should be doing, and that’s one of them,” Comey said during a conference at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “You go into any government office, and we all have the little camera things that sit on top of the screen. They all have a little lid that closes down on them. You do that so that people who don’t have authority don’t look at you. I think that’s a good thing.”

Comey said earlier this year that he covers the webcam on his laptop with tape. As 9to5Mac notes, he admitted that he was “much mocked for that.”

It turns out that Comey isn’t the only one doing it. Mark Zuckerberg has been caught indulging in the same pleasure just recently while promoting a massive milestone a Facebook photo and video app reached. Instagram would probably never have reached 500 million users if people would rather cover their photo-ready devices than take pictures and shoot video.

As I write these lines, I can’t but wonder whether anyone is watching me through the untapped webcam of my MacBook. In case you are, I’m really sorry about this hair day. Also about the weather.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.