“Isn’t this illegal? In the case of the cameras accessed using default passwords, of course. Attorney Jay Leiderman told Motherboard that Insecam “is a stunningly clear violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) [I made it clear that the CFAA was an American law, and that this may or may not be illegal in other countries],” even if it is intended as a PSA. “You put a password on a computer to keep it private, even if that password is just ‘1.’ It’s entry into a protected computer.””
“It is pretty terrifying” wrote Tom McKay.
What, you ask is pretty terrifying? This: “How would you feel if you found out a live stream of your bedroom had been airing online for weeks?” Well, you guessed it, there is a site that has 73,000 feeds of 73,000 security cameras.
I was asked to comment for this article. Here are some samples of things I was quoted saying about this harrowing topic. Before I get to the quotes, I’ll remind the reader that your password security can never be lax. As annoying as it is sometimes to have long and strong passwords, it is worse to have someone looking at you through your webcam while you are taking a shower!
The article finishes with hope for a resolution: “But who’s going to stop it? Gawker reports the domain name appeared to be registered through GoDaddy to an IP address in Moscow, meaning they’re unlikely to be tracked down. Meanwhile, the alleged anonymous administrator of the site insisted to Motherboard that the scale of the problem warranted dramatic action — and that an “automated” process was adding thousands more each week.
“Hopefully, authorities will take action to bring Insecam down. But in the meantime, this should be a reminder that password security is no joke.”
I am a free speech and free expression advocate. I believe information wants to be free; that it routs around censorship like censorship is damage. This is not an issue of free speech of free access to information, this is taking as lesson on password security too far. The end – to teach people to be secure – could be achieved by different means. While the goal is noble, the methods are appalling. One must always remember, privacy for the individual trumps most other concerns in modern society. Changing technology should not trump traditional privacy. Civil rights are paramount for the individual. Transparency is for the State. Having said that, change your password now.