Why the director of the FBI says you should cover up your webcam


You have a webcam on your laptop, don't you? According to the head of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), you should cover it up.

Director James Comey, speaking during a conference at the Center for Strategic and International Studies this week, said he shields off his personal laptop's webcam with a piece of tape, and recommends everyone do it.

"There's some sensible things you should be doing, and that's one of them," he said, as reported by The Hill.

Comey also revealed computers in "any government office" have lids that come down to block off the cameras.

"You do that so that people who don't have authority don't look at you," he explained. "I think that's a good thing."

Covert operation

Comey is of course referring to hackers that can easily access a computer's webcam and spy on users. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was also recently spotted with tape over his webcam, a security measure more people may want to adopt.

This actually isn't the first time Comey has discussed taping over his laptop camera; he admitted back in April that he covers his up after seeing the tactic featured in the news.

At the time, it struck many people as hypocritical that Comey would take such measures to protect his personal privacy. He had just finished leading the fight to force Apple to unlock one of the San Bernardino, Calif. terrorist's iPhones, a fight the FBI backed down from as it found another way to access the device.

Comey said this week he knows he was "much mocked" for revealing his precautions at the time, but isn't shying away from the advice. He likens taping over your webcam to common security measures people take elsewhere in their lives, such as locking their car doors.

"It's not crazy that the FBI director cares about personal security as well," he said at the conference. "So I think people ought to take responsibility for their own safety and security."

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Michelle Fitzsimmons

Michelle was previously a news editor at TechRadar, leading consumer tech news and reviews. Michelle is now a Content Strategist at Facebook.  A versatile, highly effective content writer and skilled editor with a keen eye for detail, Michelle is a collaborative problem solver and covered everything from smartwatches and microprocessors to VR and self-driving cars.