This brief post is to inform readers that the FBI is capable of hijacking control of your webcam and monitoring you as you sit at your computer (see first link). I’m not a computer-savvy person, but the first link has an expert explaining how this can occur without you knowing it. It also details that the FBI used this ability in a criminal case where they were imposing this surveillance on a “bad guy,” and that the FBI had sought a search warrant to do this.
The FBI does seem to play by a more Constitutional rulebook than the NSA. The FBI apparently sought a warrant from a “real court” where federal agents must convince a judge that probable cause exists to justify the warrant under the requirements of the US Constitution’s 4th Amendment. I think all law-abiding Americans want federal, state or local law-enforcement agencies to be able to do a physical or electronic “search” when circumstances warrant it to catch or stop criminals. I certainly support that right. Indeed, the framers of the US Constitution supported that right as well, but made it necessary for law-enforcement agencies to obtain a search warrant by first convincing a judge that probable cause does exist to justify the search.
As I’m sure everyone knows, the media has printed many stories that the NSA has been electronically spying on what seems to be the entire world, but the NSA gathers vast troves of private electronic information without any probable cause of any wrongdoing. In my opinion, that is a wanton violation of the US Constitution’s 4th Amendment. The NSA also obtains its “warrants” from what is, based on media accounts, little more than the NSA’s in-house “star chamber” called the FISA Court which rubber-stamps virtually anything the NSA wants to do. A previous post cited Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), one of the original authors of the Patriot Act, as saying that the NSA’s spying activities had gone far beyond what the Patriot Act allowed. I’ll have more to say on this entire subject in a later posting, but wanted to put this piece of information about webcam spying on the website for viewers to review now.
The second link is a Google listing of a variety of media reports about the FBI’s ability to hijack the videocams of personal computers and watch people as they are sitting at their computer terminal (or wherever else they are). Those who wish to do so can obtain a variety of viewpoints about this topic.
I’ll conclude by suggesting that if the FBI has no problem hijacking computer videocams and turning them on without computer users’ knowledge, then the NSA and DHS can surely do it too. I’m sure the CIA and all foreign intelligence agencies can do it as well. I’d also bet that the Big Tech Companies can also do it as they must have invented the technology that the government surveillance agencies use to hijack videocams. If you want to be informed about steps you can take to stop others from hijacking your webcam, the expert interviewed in the first link will give you pointers on how to do (and not to do) that.