Genuine Curiosity

Author Dwayne Melancon is always on the lookout for new things to learn. An ecclectic collection of postings on personal productivity, travel, good books, gadgets, leadership & management, and many other things.


Stop people from spying on you using your webcam

With all the talk about unwanted surveillance these days, one of the things I've heard people worry about is the privacy of their webcams.  "Could someone spy on me via my webcam without me knowing it?"  It's unlikely, but possible. 

If you don't want to be seen without your consent, there is an easy way to handle it:  ‎Scotch® tape or its equivalent. 

I've heard of people using duct tape, electrical tape, masking tape, etc. but I prefer the clear, but opaque ‎Scotch® tape for a few reasons:

  1. ‎Scotch® tape allows light through, which enables your computer's light sensor to gauge the ambient light and adjust your screen brightness accordingly.
  2. This tape allows you to see the "camera active" LED next to the lens when it comes on.  This can be an indicator that someone is watching, so you'll know when it's happening.  Note that some eavesdropping toolkits are able to monitor your webcam without  turning on the light, so the light alone isn't a perfect indicator.
  3. The tape is easily removable without leaving a residue.  That means you can easily use your webcam when you want to without a lot of hassle. 

How well does it work?  Take a look at these two views - one normal view, and one with tape over the lens. 


As you can see, a simple bit of inexpensive tape does the trick. 

One other thing to keep in mind:  This does nothing to keep people from listening in on your microphone...