FBI Can Use Suspects' Laptop Cameras— With the Light Off
Bureau develops malware for targets' computers
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Dec 7, 2013 2:45 PM CST
Just because the light's off doesn't mean the FBI's not using it.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – If the FBI wants dirt on a suspect, agents are capable of turning on his laptop's webcam—without him knowing. The light won't go on, Gizmodo reports, based on a Washington Post piece. The technique, available to the bureau for years, is mostly used to fight terror or other very serious crime, a former FBI official tells the Post, which offers more details on the bureau's high-tech strategies.

In the case of "Mo," who was behind multiple bomb threats last year, the FBI created surveillance malware to install via the suspect's Yahoo email account. These programs can download materials from users' computers or turn on their webcams, the Post reports. In Mo's case, a magistrate approved the use of the software; courts have also struck down such plans, however. Despite the use of warrants, observers have raised constitutional concerns. "We have transitioned into a world where law enforcement is hacking into people’s computers, and we have never had public debate," says an ACLU rep.

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Showing 3 of 49 comments
Dec 13, 2013 5:54 AM CST
guess its time to masterbate in front of the camera while listening to alvin and the chipmunks on double speed. that ought to make their day.
Dec 11, 2013 2:52 PM CST
can't tape a microphone....they can still listen to everything your saying....
Dec 9, 2013 5:22 PM CST
Yikes! Time to tape mine up. To think they could watch me air dry after a shower. Not a pretty sight at my age, I promise you.