If you’re worried about mass government surveillance, which you probably should be at least a little bit, Rand Paul has a suggestion for you. Anyone can show their support for the Republican senator from Kentucky—who announced Tuesday that he’s running for president—by sporting Rand Paul flip-flops or campaign dog tags from the senator’s online store. But if you really want to take a stand, you can pay $15 for something called an “NSA Spy Cam Blocker.”
What could that possibly be? Good question. From the item’s “Quick Overview”: “That little front facing camera on your laptop or tablet can be a window for the world to see you—whether you know it or not! Stop hackers and the NSA with this simple camera blocker. Safe and practical.” (This piece of plastic is not manufactured by the huge IT consulting firm Rand Group … just to clarify.)
It’s a good point from the Rand campaign. Webcams are known to be easily hackable, providing eyes and ears on your life to whomever infiltrates them. Be that as it may, a $15 “NSA Spy Cam Blocker” is extremely silly. This is mainly because alternative webcam covers, such as tape and bandaids, cost next to nothing. But even if you want to get something fancy, hilariously overpriced stickers are already available for $5. Or get a sticker from a toddler you know for free.
The Rand Paul store classifies the “NSA Spy Cam Blocker” under its “Fun Stuff” category, which could be viewed as a productive effort to recast cybersecurity in a more positive light. But given that this product just shouldn’t exist at all, it doesn’t really feel like a win.