On Covering Laptop Cameras

02/04/2020

Front-facing cameras (face-facing?) on laptops are grossly ubiquitous. When was the last time you actually used it? It serves a low quality picture, and you usually just opt to use your phone for that kind of face-technology stuff for a less cumbersome experience. The only purpose they serve is to remind the user that there's secretly a personal FBI agent watching you do homework. So users cover them up with tape.

It's a weird mixture of the rejection of gross privacy invasion and the acceptance that the software that they're using has the possibility of spying on them, or something. I see the practice as a kind of user complacency. A rejection of WYSIWYG but also agreeing that there's nothing one can do about it. That's how computers work. It's a kind of hopelessness that I hate to see people bear. I don't cover up my laptop camera, because I am comfortable with my computer. Yes, I use some proprietary firmware blobs and such, but if I really want to disable the use of my camera, I can. It doesn't really matter whether there really is an FBI guy on the other end, becuase it's an issue of a userbase not feeling empowered by their computers. The most you can possibly do is to politely ask "please don't."

To many, I believe computers seem like magical black boxes that you have to go to college for to use to their full extent.


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