One of the most unsettling revelations to come from Edward Snowden’s leak of classified documents is the National Security Agency’s (NSA) ability to hack into our webcams. The NSA is so sophisticated, it has specific tools to take over devices, hijack microphones, snap clandestine photos, and even record videos, according to The Intercept.
In April, FBI Director James Comey admitted he covers his webcam with a piece of tape. A couple months later, internet sleuths noticed Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg did so, too. By September, Comey told a conference room we should all cover up our webcams.
But there are better solutions than stickers and tape for the design conscious among us, and a new Kickstarter campaign seems to offer one of the best solutions yet.
The Intelligent Security Camera Cover (ISCC) claims to be the “the world’s thinnest, most ergonomic, and seamless mechanical webcam privacy cover.” After browsing the many mechanical camera covers available online, we’re inclined to agree.
At just 0.028-inches thick, the ISCC is thinner than a credit card, so it won’t snag on pockets or bulk up your device. It fits nicely — and looks good — on most laptops, tablets, and smartphones, without obstructing indicator lights. And, unlike many competitors, the ISCC is made of steel rather than plastic.
Although the ISCC isn’t cheap — it’s available now on Kickstarter for $9 — it has generated quite a bit of Kickstarter buzz for such a simple product. With a month and a half to go in the campaign, over 2,200 backers have pledged a total of nearly $62,000, well over the $7,500 goal.
ISCC’s inventor, Laurent Etienne, first decided to develop the cover after recognizing the potential for devices to be hacked and the ease with which hackers could gain access to his webcam. Like Zuckerberg and Comey, Etienne looked for a bit of privacy but he was unsatisfied with the design of most available products.
“After looking at options [for other camera covers], I did not find DIY methods aesthetic or practical,” Etienne told Digital Trends. “Existing products were too thick, didn’t function as advertised, had some similar drawbacks to DIY methods and mostly weren’t aesthetic and seamless. Since I couldn’t find something ideal, exciting, and pleasing I wouldn’t mind keeping on my devices, I had to create something myself. So I did.”
The camera cover is composed of two parts: an adhesive ring and a magnetic circle, which slides back and forth to conceal or expose the webcam. Cleaning is a cinch, Etienne said, and the adhesive ring can be removed without leaving residue.
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