Is camera privacy and security an issue while using Zoom?

Max Jung, Staff Writer

The current situation of Covid-19 has led to a lot of new problems with solutions varying in creativity and effectiveness. Whether it’s restaurants having tables set six feet apart, priests enacting baptism via squirt gun, or the greater reliance on delivery services like Amazon, DoorDash, or Uber Eats, very clear steps are being taken to ensure life can go on with some amount of normalcy while the world ends around us.

Perhaps the most obvious example of this striving to continue normalcy is the way school has been reintroduced. Using a combination of in-person classes, virtual students observing, and new tools and websites to send assignments to be completed virtually. 

A question considered by students and teachers is whether or not this new model could put people’s privacy at risk, or if there are other issues and concerns about filming in people’s bedrooms.

“I don’t like being on camera, it makes me feel pretty anxious, but I see how it’s important for the teachers.” Julia Skaggs ‘21 said about her mixed feelings on the subject.

This idea seems pretty common among students, and it basically follows that by having classes that require students to keep their cameras on, that their privacy in their home could be compromised. 

This thought process indeed seems common, in a survey conducted by the East Vision to students at the High School that asked if students felt like their privacy was at risk during camera-required courses, 54 students replied that yes it did, while 44 replied that it did not. While this is a rather small sample, it is not a huge stretch to say that roughly half of the student body or more are not comfortable with being forced to show their face and portion of their house on camera. It doesn’t really have a simple work-around, and is largely unavoidable, as are the effects of it.

Of course, many people don’t really have a big issue with showing themselves on camera in this way. “I personally don’t mind it, I find it kind of interesting to show a part of your life like that. But people probably shouldn’t be forced to do it,” Andrew Bonnah ‘21 said.

For the most part, people seem to be mostly indifferent or mixed towards putting their cameras on. They mostly don’t like it but are willing to do it as a requirement due to the expectations of teachers, as they frequently will ask or require students to turn their cameras on and show themselves as a present for the class.

So that’s that. For now, this seems to just be something we have to put up with for the time being, until a better solution comes along, or until we can finally go back to school normally.