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Lenovo's Record Light - Mixup

Lenovo's Record Light - Mixup

Summary of this post is now on YouTube... 

Article summary  |  3 min

Webcam Covers & Tinfoil Hats

There was a time when covering one's webcam with tape would get you admitted to the psychiatric ward. Now, the FBI director recommends it as the "sensible thing you should be doing".  Mark Zuckerberg in 2016 was seen with his webcam (& microphone) covered. 

Mark Zuckerberg laptop camera tape
Mark Zuckerberg laptop camera tape

All this comes on the heals of Edward Snowden's reminder of the ease that recording devices can be co-opted for surveillance. An ideal password protection strategy may involves a wool-knit sweater as seen below, though this may be impractical at times.  

 Protect your passwords from prying cameras

Protect your passwords from prying cameras

As crazy as the above picture may seem, Edward Snowden in CitizenFour was seen doing this when required to enter his passwords,

 Edward Snowden protecting his passwords in CitizenFour with his security blanket. (Like the red indicator light, it too is red.)

Edward Snowden protecting his passwords in CitizenFour with his security blanket. (Like the red indicator light, it too is red.)

 

Some manufactures have started to build camera covers directly into their monitor's webcam. 

I do think though, that Lenovo / ThinkVision has their lens cover backwards.


Red indicator light

The universal language in video & sound to indicate 'recording' has been a red light. This light on many electronics was a red bulb or LED. This is in part why the red 'Record' indictor on video cameras is a red dot.  Red is used as the spectrum stands out on the retina in both dark and light conditions. There is a reason that signalling beacons and record lights are red.

A red indicator light has become synonymous with 'on' 'hot' 'live' 'active' 'recording'. This is a classic case of skeuomorphism - adopting real world design language in the creation of digital design. Your phone continues this old tradition to use this design language in the video recording module.

iPhone red record light

Lenovo, ThinkVision

The Lenovo ThinkVision monitors have chosen to use a red indicator light to indicate their camera is off / covered. This is backwards from standard user design language. 

On their devices, when the webcam is covered - aka 'off' - a red light marking is seen.

The red indicator disappears when you remove the cover, and turn 'on' the camera.

It is a bit unnerving to have a red dot staring at you all the time. Perhaps Lenovo chose to design their monitors as a testament to George Orwell's 1984. A daily reminder of the existential threats posted by the surveillance state, and to encourage vigilance in peoples behaviour and action.

I suspect the reason a red dot ended up on their webcams when closed is someone suggested it would be a nice reference to the ThinkVision logo to use their small red dot as a design feature. If so, this is a classic case of unintended consequences.

 Logo - with the red dot

Logo - with the red dot

Lenovo ThinkVision - off - camera covered

Lenovo ThinkVision - on - camera open

 Off ???

Off ???

 On ???

On ???

IMG_4299.JPG

I'm unsure if their tagline, "Different is better" applies here...

Lenovo different is better

Mandatory participation 1/2: social media

Mandatory participation 1/2: social media

Flag Abnormal Lab Results: Why & Difficulties.

Flag Abnormal Lab Results: Why & Difficulties.