Many users do not wish the continuous exposure for which webcams were originally intended, but rather prefer privacy. Such privacy is lost when Trojan horse programs allow malicious hackers to activate the webcam without the user's knowledge, providing the hackers with a live video and audio feed. Cameras such as Apple's older external iSight cameras include lens covers to thwart this. Some webcams have built-in hardwired LED indicators that light up whenever the camera is active. It is not clear whether these indicators can be circumvented when webcams are surreptitiously activated without the user's knowledge or intent, via spyware.
In mid-January 2005, some search engine queries were published in an on-line forum which allow anyone to find thousands of Panasonic- and Axis high-end web cameras, provided that they have a web-based interface for remote viewing. Many such cameras are running on default configuration, which does not require any password login or IP address verification, making them viewable by anyone.
Some laptop computers have built in webcams which present both privacy and security issues, as such cameras cannot normally be physically disabled if hijacked by a Trojan Horse program or other similar spyware programs. In the 2010 Robbins v. Lower Merion School District "WebcamGate" case, plaintiffs charged that two suburban Philadelphia high schools secretly spied on students - by surreptitiously remotely activating iSight webcams embedded in school-issued MacBook laptops the students were using at home — and thereby infringed on their privacy rights. School authorities admitted to secretly snapping over 66,000 photographs, including shots of students in the privacy of their bedrooms, including some with teenagers in various state of undress. The school board involved quickly disabled their laptop spyware program after parents filed lawsuits against the board and various individuals.
Read more about this topic: Webcam
Other articles related to "privacy":
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Famous quotes containing the word privacy:
“... privacy is ... connected to a politics of domination.”
—bell hooks (b. 1955)
“Any moral philosophy is exceedingly rare. This of Menu addresses our privacy more than most. It is a more private and familiar, and at the same time, a more public and universal word, than is spoken in parlor or pulpit nowadays.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)
“The East is the hearthside of America. Like any home, therefore, it has the defects of its virtues. Because it is a long-lived-in house, it bursts its seams, is inconvenient, needs constant refurbishing. And some of the family resources have been spent. To attain the privacy that grown-up people find so desirable, Easterners live a harder life than people elsewhere. Today it is we and not the frontiersman who must be rugged to survive.”
—Phyllis McGinley (19051978)