Along with the photos, data on your location is displayed in the intercept so you can be easily tracked.
All this happens without any awareness by the phone user -- the screen can either be turned off or on, it does not matter.
Even this "permission" is fraught with difficulty, since other kids who are not related to the parents may well be monitored.
This epidemic of webcam and smartphone camera monitoring and spying affects everyone.
By being able to activate either a webcam or microphone on a PC, laptop or smartphone, intruders can listen in on sensitive meetings and conversations and even know where the meetings are held, who attended, and everything about what was discussed. It is of course illegal to record a conversation without obtaining permission of the person or persons being recorded, but keep in mind even web conferencing software allows for proceedings to be recorded and no permission is asked.
There are plenty of vendors selling spy software, some designed for "professional" business use and marketed as a way to track employees, such as a product for employee monitoring made by Inter Guard. These days, there are hundreds of spying products to choose from, and the best of them facilitate surreptitious webcam and mobile cam spying.
Many of the images obtained were very personal ones and could be used to either embarrass or blackmail users.
Reports in the UK say that NSA engineers helped GCHQ develop the Optic Nerve program.
This works in two ways: companies and organizations spying on their own employees, and competitors and thieves spying on corporations.
Marcus Thomas, a former assistant director of the FBI's Operational Technology Division in Quantico, Virginia, tells the Washington Post that the FBI could spy on anyone's webcam without turning on the camera's indicator light.
While not all webcams have indicator lights, and many laptops do not have them at all, the indicator light is a nice security feature that tells you when the camera is active.
Webcam spying is part of a suite of so-called Remote Access Tools or RATS.
Thomas told the Post that the FBI has had these tools for years but uses "Rattingly" (the webcam spying tool) sparingly.