Friday, February 19, 2010

Spying with laptop webcams

News Item:
PHILADELPHIA – A suburban Philadelphia school district accused of spying on students at home via school-issued computers told parents it only activated the webcams to find missing laptops.
The schools' technology and security departments would activate the webcam when any of the 2,300 student laptops were reported lost or stolen, Lower Merion School District Superintendent Christopher McGinley said. He posted the letter to parents on the district Web site late Thursday, amid widespread student outrage and the filing of a potential class-action lawsuit alleging wiretap and privacy violations.


Here is the problem, and not just with school or state issued laptops. All laptop video cameras are ALWAYS ON. Just because the software for chat or capture isn't running for the user, doesn't mean you are in privacy mode. That someone would put spyware in your OS stack without stating it as such only indicates that this is in addition to Window's XP or higher OS versions ability to constant capture video feed. Remote Procedure Call in the services stack means that any external, under the radar agency can access your camera without you being aware and then download that feed. It's built in Windows since 2001.

Any video in chat or otherwise is automatically routed to FBI, CIA, and NSA servers. This has already been established years ago.

The only way to disable this feature is to put a piece of opaque tape over the pinhole camera on your laptop. Just unplugging your RJ45 hard wire won't do it, because modern laptops are ALWAYS BROADCASTING IN WIRELESS MODE AT ALL TIMES, WHENEVER THE LAPTOP IS TURNED ON. ALWAYS.

Be advised. If you want privacy, you have to tape over the camera.

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