Webcam Covering as Planned Behavior

Machuletz D, Laube S, Böhme R

Most of today’s laptops come with an integrated webcam placed above the screen to enable video conferencing. Due to the risk of webcam spying attacks, some laptop users seem to be concerned about their privacy and seek protection by covering the webcam. This paper is the first to investigate personal characteristics and beliefs of users with and without webcam covers by applying the Theory of Planned Behavior. We record the privacy behavior of 180 users, develop a path model, and analyze it by applying Partial Least Squares. The analysis indicates that privacy concerns do not significantly influence users’ decision to use a webcam cover. Rather, this behavior is influenced by users’ attitudes, social environment, and perceived control over protecting privacy. Developers should take this as a lesson to design privacy enhancing technologies which are convenient, verifiably effective and endorsed by peers.

Publication type
Research article in proceedings (conference)

Peer reviewed

Publication status
online first


Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (ACM CHI)

Montreal, Canada