Snowden Was Right, Block Your Mics & Cameras
A product to defend your family from the Surveillance Age
I. Introducing the Surveillance Age
Today, 15 years after September 11th, the technology that was initially developed to stop terrorism, has been used by bad actors to gain access to and spy on your most intimate and innocuous moments. Many of us believe we’re only exposed by what we type into a computer online, but that’s not the real threat.
The real threat is from something you carry with you everywhere and keep within arms length, even when you sleep. It’s your cell phone. The microphone records what you say in private and the conversations you have in public. The front-facing selfie video camera records what you look like every time you hold the phone in front of you. It records what you see.
II. The Places You’re Being Watched
Did you know some smart TVs have cameras in them? Seriously, they can record every conversation you have when they’re powered on. Did you know 70% of malware installed on cell phones and laptops, illegally and unbeknownst to you, record everything you say with the microphone and everything you do with the video camera?
Did you also know that people can watch you online for free as you cross into surveillance camera lines of site? This is the website that lets you view this footage, searchable by location, device manufacturer and other aspects and below is a screenshot of what it looks like. As you can see, it includes over 100 pages of live video cameras. And that’s just the “new online cameras” section.
Creepy is an understatement.
If a shadowy figure was outside your window staring in at you every night, you’d call the police immediately. But because you’re being recorded without you knowing it, it doesn’t seem like it’s happening. I’m here to tell you that it most definitely is.
III. Defending Yourself Against Unwanted Surveillance
So what is your defense when a million people are watching and listening through your cell phone’s video camera? You have two choices to stop you and your family from being surveilled:
- Turn off your phone and computer, for good.
- Put something over your computer and cell phone’s mic and video cameras.
Option one isn’t really practical in the world we live in today. We need to stay connected to work, friends, and family. And we’ve already seen option two manifest itself as tape across the Facebook founder’s laptop video camera.
The new Oliver Stone Snowden movie hitting theaters this week shows a band-aid doing the same “job”. The cast even uses a product to protect themselves.
The problem with tape and band-aids, of course, is that it’s just a hack. A quick solution to a very serious surveillance problem. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a custom product built specifically for this purpose? Something that blocked creepy prying eyes and ears, but did it in a fun way to turn a negative into art?
Luckily there is.
A family friend who, with with her husband, owns a major creative advertising and agency business in Southern California, made this product. Because she believes so passionately in privacy mindfulness, August Brice had this to say about the process behind the product’s inception:
I’ve actually been covering the cameras on my computer/phones/xbox etc. for years — using post-it notes, tape, whatever I could find. And I’m pretty sure people used to think I was just being paranoid. But when the founder of the most successful social media empire in history, CIA employees, Hollywood celebrities, and even the director of the FBI are covering their cameras, I think it’s time to acknowledge that we’re not obsessing over some imaginary boogeyman: this is an incredibly real, shockingly pervasive problem.
I think I have to agree. And because life shouldn’t be all scary 5 o’clock news, her product took a bit of a playful bent.
IV. Introducing CREEPBLOCKER
That product, CREEPBLOCKER, is finally available for sale on safertech.com. They are decals for covering not just the cameras, but also the microphones on your phones, tablets, and computers.
They aren’t just any old decals, however. They’re made specifically for maximum privacy, with a few important features:
- Re-usability. You can stick them on, take them off, and re-stick them on the same or different device later.
- Size. Each sheet of CreepBlockers comes in various sizes for all different types of devices, from 15" MacBook Pros to small iPhone SE. There’s also a large space that you can cut out custom shapes.
- No gunk. Band-aids aren’t just too big. They leave a nasty residue on your laptop. With these, nothing is left behind except piece of mind.
- Block sound. They’re the only sticker on the market that blocks sound. for the tiny little holes on the bottom of your cell phone, the side of your aluminum laptop, or even the speakers on either side of the keyboard.
August, describing these features, went on to say,
We met with multiple suppliers and tested every kind of plastic and vinyl we could get our hands on until we got it right.
CREEPBLOCKERS come in two editions, shown above. Bold for the bros and Sweet for the gals, each with unique emoticons, messages, and shapes.
So, whether you choose to channel 007 or kissy lips, one thing we can all agree on at this point. Snowden was right. Just not about using a band-aid.