Should You Be Concerned About Surveillance? The FBI Director Thinks So!

During a Wednesday speech on privacy at Kenyon College, FBI Director James Comey said he’s anxious enough about the prospect of covert surveillance that he places tape over his computer’s webcam.

“I saw something in the news, so I copied it. I put a piece of tape — I have obviously a laptop, personal laptop — I put a piece of tape over the camera,” Comey said. “Because I saw somebody smarter than I am had a piece of tape over their camera.”

Comey is well aware of how the technology works since even the FBI is known for developing and deploying malware that can covertly switch on a computer’s webcam remotely. It isn’t just hackers who have this sort of technology.

For some privacy advocates, Comey’s tape measure is terribly hypocritical. On the one hand, the FBI demands that software companies engineer devices so the federal government can gain access. On the contrary, Comey is placing tape over his webcam, which renders it useless, were law enforcement to deploy remotely malware to turn it on without his knowledge.

Christopher Soghoian, a policy analyst at the ACLU, mocked Comey’s speech by tweeting, “FBI Director Comey has created a ‘warrant-proof webcam’ that will thwart lawful surveillance should he ever be investigated. Shame on him.”