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FBI Director Covers His Laptop's Webcam With Tape: Why? Should You Do It?

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FBI director James Comey was previously seen commenting in a Q&A that he uses his own privacy methods to protect himself from surveillance.

The method involves a piece of store-bought tape which he sticks onto his personal laptop's webcam to protect his privacy. As most precautious users know, hackers can work their way into systems to not only mine information but also hack its camera. Unaware victims can then have their actions recorded and either used for government procedures or sold on the "dark" side of Internet. Hence, why a high-profile man such as Comey needs to take extra preventive measures,

The FBI director had been giving a speech in Kenyon College about "encryption and privacy." In his speech, he reiterates that "absolute privacy" does not bode well for law enforcement agencies because it impedes on their efforts.

As the Q&A section of his speech kicks in, an audience member asks him: "What effect do you think the current raised awareness of surveillance will have on individual's actions within this country and will this assist or detract from the goals of your organization?"

Comey answers by saying that people should not just worry about it, but instead channel this into something more productive by "demanding" from the government how it conducts its surveillances and what the limitations of these projects are. He believes that citizens should "channel [the anxiety] into a healthy awareness, a demand for information and engagement."

Comey has seemingly done his "engagement" as a civilian by identifying a weak spot in his privacy, the webcam, finding a solution through the news, and then addressing it by taping over it.

The Speech, Privacy and Technology Project's Senior Policy Analyst from ACLU, Christopher Soghoian, took to Twitter and pointed out James Comey's "double standards."

In a report by NPR, activists call him out for being prejudiced. Comey had earlier said that companies should not be making securely encrypted phones that are unbreachable by security agencies. Comey's trusty method of surveillance protection, however, is a complete contradiction of what he previously stated. The report explains that a webcam taped-over, is just as unbreachable as any encrypted device could get.

The question Comey answered, starts at 1:32:20 and his "tape-over" method at 1:32:45:

 

Photo: Alper Çuğun | Flickr

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