Not too long ago, Instagram- a picture sharing network owned by Facebook- recorded half a billion active monthly users. This was widely acknowledged by users globally, including Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. In doing so, he shared an enjoyable picture of himself, to celebrate Instagram’s achievement and unintentionally revealed more than what he bargained on.
Chris Olsen– a fellow Twitter user- closely inspected the picture posted by Zuckerberg and was quick to point out on the micro-blogging website that the webcam of Zuckerberg’s laptop- in the background of the picture- is covered with tape. Furthermore, it is rumoured that in this particular picture the laptop’s microphone appears to be taped as well.
Media coverage and talks related to webcam-related spying have been on the increase. Additionally, putting tape over your laptop’s webcam and microphone is not an uncommon practice. This privacy method is also used by FBI director, James Comey, as he makes use of tape on the webcam of his laptop as surveillance protection technique. Webcam spying was also one of the aspects discussed by Edward Snowden, NSA whistleblower. Another example is Marcus Thomas, the FBI’s operational technology division in Quantico’s former assisted director, who claimed that the U.S. government has the ability to do webcam-related spying and told the Washington Post that the government has been doing so for several years now.
Zuckerberg’s company, of which he is the CEO, is often being accused of listening to conversations of its users, amongst other things, and the ability of sophisticated hackers, like the U.S. government, to control the camera of a laptop, only substantiates caution. Thus, it is not surprising that Zuckerberg is paranoid, taking these measures to protect himself from hackers and surveillance.