While your computer’s webcam can be a source of scariness if someone is watching who shouldn’t be, it could also be a valuable witness when things go awry. To wit: Police in Tempe, Ariz. have arrested one suspect and are looking for another, after online gamers from around the world watched a home invasion unfolding live via their fellow player’s webcam. [More]
With help from their pals at the National Security Agency the British intelligence agents at the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) spent two years swiping still frames from millions of Yahoo webcam chats between people who weren’t suspects in any crimes or terrorist activities, according to leaked government documents. [More]
It’s all fun and Internet-connected games until someone gets spied on, says the Federal Trade Commission in a recent action it’s taking to protect consumers from seemingly innocent digital devices. The Internet of Things makes it so we can be online all the time, with our appliances, vehicles and many other objects we interact with on a daily basis. But the FTC is warning customers about webcams from TRENDnet that might not be so secure. [More]
Webcams already have all sorts of practical purposes, from chatting with your friends, to business teleconferencing, to the growing number of people who make money baring their all on cam. But now, some clever folks have figured out a way to use your cam to monitor your heart rate, just by looking at your forehead. [More]
Ted really likes his new LG netbook, except for one problem: the self-focusing webcam focuses itself in the wrong spot. The company’s customer service representatives were extremely friendly but ultimately useless. Now Ted has to continue…just a bit out of focus.
Melissa tells Consumerist that she had an irritating recent visit to her optometrist’s office. The experience led her to find a new provider (hooray, free market!) but she wonders whether the offending office’s tactics are becoming more common in other places. She wants to know: have any of your health care providers started photographing patients, claiming that the snapshots are to prevent insurance fraud?
I always keep a little sticker over the webcam lens on my netbook when I’m not using it, because I don’t trust that I know enough about computers to be 100% confident my webcam is off when I want it to be off. And if you think that’s being too paranoid, look at what happened to Dianne Annunziato earlier this month when she called a Dell support line for help with her laptop.
Consumer Reports decided to test the now famous “racist” HP webcam for themselves, being product testers and all, to see if they could replicate the problem or even find a solution to it. The solution: the webcam needs foreground light to function, and the more pigment in your skin, the closer you seem to have to sit.
If you want to take advantage of this HP web cam’s face tracking feature and you’ve got dark skin, you’d better, I dunno, sprinkle glitter on your cheeks first or something. The software doesn’t seem to be able to recognize you otherwise.