There are real reasons to believe that hackers — both state actors and otherwise — gain access to innocent people's computer webcams. Just ask security researcher Patrick Wardle, whose work helped uncover a 13-year-old strainof Mac malware that was developed seemingly to spy on regular people through their webcams.
"[A] hacker built this to spy on users for probably perverse reasons," Wardle explained to Mashable in 2017.
So why should the selfie camera be different? Sure, it's on a mobile device which runs on a completely different operating system than a computer, but as the disastrous iOS FaceTime bug demonstrated earlier this year even privacy-focused Apple makes mistakes. Hackers love mistakes.
For those who don't recall, in that aforementioned FaceTime screwup a teenager discovered that it was possible both to listen to and watch people through their iPhones — even if they had not accepted an incoming FaceTime call.
Pretty unnerving stuff.
Danny O'Brien, the Electronic Frontier Foundation's director of strategy, told Mashable that while the bigger issue is that people should be able to physically disable the camera's on their devices, putting stickers on selfie cameras serves as a Band-Aid.