Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Portables Without Cameras?

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the why-does-my-toothbrush-have-a-camera dept.

Portables 442

crankyspice writes "I work routinely in environments where a camera cannot physically be present (e.g., federal court), which really limits what I can carry with me. For instance, I'm a Mac guy, but there's no way to order a MacBook without a built-in webcam (which I've never used on the machines I've owned that have had one). Ditto the iPhone. I'm left with a BlackBerry 8830 and the bottom rung of the [W|L]Intel portables. Even then, when I ordered a Dell Mini 9, I had to wait more than a month because I specified no webcam when I placed the order. This is a relatively common (government, law, sensitive corporate environments) requirement; what have other Slashdotters done? Disabling the camera with a script or somesuch won't convince the $12/hour security guard that there's no camera. How can one easily find portable devices without a built-in camera?"

cancel ×

442 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Step back a bit... (5, Funny)

grub (11606) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795137)


Disabling the camera with a script or somesuch won't convince the $12/hour security guard that there's no camera. How can one easily find portable devices without a built-in camera?

Simple, non-technical solution: just hire $10/hour security guards!

Re:Step back a bit... (4, Interesting)

timothy (36799) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795261)

Not necessarily better!

I've seen many crazy things to do w/ "security" guards, in all regions of the U.S. and various contexts (courthouses, airports, etc.) A friend of mine had his P38 (old military style) can opener taken off his keychain in the Bucks County Courthouse (PA); it's hard to believe that it's (much) more dangerous as a slashing implement than most of the other keys on the same keychain. And the keychain itself could be used to bludgeon someone. And the strap of my messenger bag could have quite satisfyingly throttled that simpering, simple-headed nogoodnik of a "security guard" in the first place.

True: walked into a parole office in New Jersey with a fellow about to start parole. The lazy, snickering security guard spotted us after we'd both entered, through the (unattended) flimsy, Soviet-style metal-detector that probably had guts cheaper than the kind you see guys sweeping down the beach. The new parolee, who was carrying nothing, was asked to actually go through the device. I was not (had to ask special) -- even though I was carrying a bag that could have had a few dozen grenades, or mice, or whatever. Perhaps it was because I was wearing a Suit of Hypnosis and a Tie of Knotting.

Guard soon went back to guarding his GameBoy in the corner 20 or more feet from the entrance.

timothy

Re:Step back a bit... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27795505)

I run into folks like you at work all the time. Most of us just refer to you guys as assholes. It's astonishing to me how arrogant people can be.

I'm ultimately the one that's going to have to look for any IEDs that somebody might plant in my part of the building as well as screen vehicles coming in. I get that you make more than I do, but that's really no reason to act like such a jack ass.

You know it's not exactly stress free working at one of the top hundred terrorist targets. And having to put up with arrogant gits like you makes it that much less pleasent.

Re:Step back a bit... (4, Insightful)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795555)

A friend of mine had his P38 (old military style) can opener taken off his keychain in the Bucks County Courthouse (PA)

A P38 can opener, for those of you who don't know, is quite possibly the least expensive can-opener possible. It could be accurately be described as a "hinged razor-blade."

It's really no surprise at all that the security guard wouldn't let that pass. Especially as they're made of stamped aluminum and probably worth about .10 cents each.

Re:Step back a bit... (5, Interesting)

Forge (2456) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795673)

Usually the problem isn't how dumb the guard is. Most guards just aren't permitted to think anyway.

More than once I have asked "why do you have this rule or that" and gotten the response: "Because the boss must be on crack or something".

As for the cameras issue. That is legit. Not only do courts sometimes deal with cases where identities must be protected (I.e. It's bad enough little Sandy has to testify against her Daddy for molesting her, but putting her picture on the net would make it a whole lot worse) but there are other "institutions" that have vested interest in being photograph free. I.e. Many titty Bars ban Cams to protect the day jobs and church membership of part time strippers as well as the Senate seat of tonight's #1 tipper.

As for cam less devices. Nothing wrong with having a low end device. I.e. In a courtroom, You don't need a high frame rate or surround sound. Even my lowly old Dell Latitude D620 is overkill for legitimate courtroom usage.

Phones are a bigger problem. It's getting real hard to find phones with Email, 3G and WiFi without a built in Camera.

I'm shocked nobody has capitalized on this to release "Cam-less mods" for those Blackberrys where the cam can be hidden and crippled by changing the user removable back panel for one without the lens opening.

Re:Step back a bit... (3, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795325)

Or better yet, get a piece of trim tape that matches closely to the color of the laptop bezel. Cut it to match and look stock.

When asked, say "If I ordered one with a camera, that's where it would go" If you use an automotive class trim or striping tape it will not easily come off or peel at the edges.

it's very VERY easy to outwit $12.00 an hour security.

Re:Step back a bit... (4, Insightful)

plover (150551) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795633)

This isn't about outwitting security. That's the easy part. The real problem is if you get caught in a high security facility with a camera, it's your job and probably worse. If you add to that the fact that you were actively trying to hide it (with "automotive class trim") you might be accused of espionage.

Re:Step back a bit... (5, Insightful)

Ruede (824831) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795333)

what the 20$/hour techy doesnt get is that the 12$/hour guard knows that a camera that is switched off, can easily be switched back on.

Sounds like you've covered it pretty well (4, Insightful)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795143)

I've just cruised through this list of netbooks [amazon.com] over at Amazon. It returned just over 5,000 results and I can't find one without a camera. I'll keep looking but this leads me to believe that you may just need to look at a regular laptop. And the wait is probably going to exist otherwise because you are obviously looking for something that is just outside the norm for these.
 
  This discussion [c0t0d0s0.org] from last September didn't turn up anything, except the Mini 9 - which you already mention. Though they do bring up one option that I think is the best bet; to open up the case, yank the camera and fill in the spot where it went. It can't be that hard. If some guy can fit an LCD behind the apple logo [slashdot.org] - you can get the camera out.
 
The phone issue I find being brought up going back to 2005 and it's probably older - this seemed to offer hope [yahoo.com] and mentions a few models but it's old and I'm not sure how stuff would have carried forward. Most stuff I find mentions Blackberry which you already have. So my guess is that there is no treasure trove of camera free devices that you have missed. You are just in a tough spot.

Re:Sounds like you've covered it pretty well (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27795185)

If it has a camera, it will often have to be removed by the IT/Security organization, so it can be properly "signed off." This doesn't happen often, as it often involves a lot of paperwork. Removing it yourself won't work, since it can't be "certified." Also, if the factory spec for the network shows a camera, then it has a camera - unless it's removed and documented by the appropriate people (see above). At least for cellphones, I know the business offerings from ATT have CURRENT cellphones with and without cameras. You won't see the no-camera offerings unless you're looking at their business offerings.

Re:Sounds like you've covered it pretty well (2, Insightful)

supernova_hq (1014429) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795539)

Removing it yourself won't work, since it can't be "certified."

Drill out the camera with a 1/4" drill bit. Then when the security guy points out the camera hole, SHOVE A PENCIL THROUGH IT!

Most webcams are on their own circuit board above the display. If you wanted to save it, to put back in later, you could remove the board, then drill out the case.

Re:Sounds like you've covered it pretty well (1)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795701)

Or you could just put the "automotive class trim" over it to fool the $12/hr security guard and not have to deal with all the drama, and if you're accused of espionage then peel it off for a minute and stick a pencil through it.

Get an OQO (5, Informative)

clam666 (1178429) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795373)

Get an OQO. Fits in a pocket, full windows xp/vista. Mobile broadband built right in. Extended batteries for hours of use.

http://www.oqo.com/ [oqo.com]

Re:Sounds like you've covered it pretty well (-1, Redundant)

drizek (1481461) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795431)

Most netbooks are available without cameras as a cheaper option.

Dell Mini 9 for one, and many many more.

Re:Sounds like you've covered it pretty well (0, Redundant)

drizek (1481461) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795433)

Oops. Can I mod my own post redundant?

Re:Sounds like you've covered it pretty well (5, Funny)

supernova_hq (1014429) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795551)

Nope, you already posted.

Don't worry, I'll do it for you!

thinkpad (2, Informative)

b0b0tiken (1010969) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795157)

check out the T400 or the T61 if they still sell it.

Peers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27795163)

Look around at what your peers and colleagues are using. You can't be the only one trying to bring portable devices into those places.

epoxy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27795175)

Why not just take some opaque, permanent glue (epoxy will work) and cover the lens with it? you can even sand it and paint over it.

Always present... (1)

Boombox2003 (1352089) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795177)

The problem is that companies see a camera, no matter how basic, as a selling point that is easy to impliment. As shown by the dated camera added on to the iphone. Its a cheap and easy feature that most people look for in some incaranation on their phones. Its not their fault its the way people are they always want everything , it doesnt matter if its sub par as long as its there.

Re:Always present... (2)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795521)

A cheap camera on a cellphone actually is a good thing. It's a camera that won't be in the bottom of the glove box with dead batteries (or, in earlier days, expired film) when you need it (e.g. after an accident, or when corrupt cops are putting some minority "in his place.")

It's really quite a shame that certain environments need to restrict their presence.

dude.. (5, Insightful)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795179)

The answer is simple. Break the camera device. It won't break your computer or portable. . it will break the camera.

Make it so it is obvious when you point it out.

Re:dude.. (5, Informative)

(H)elix1 (231155) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795195)

A sticker over the lens will usually keep the casual inspector at bay...

Re:dude.. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27795283)

Get or make a sticker that looks like a product logo or souvenir sticker and won't look too out of place. If you are really stuck place several stickers in different spots as well. Like bumper stickers on a well traveled car. That should take care of up to the $25/hr security guard. :-)

Re:dude.. (1)

ykiwi (211385) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795291)

A sticker over the lens will usually keep the casual inspector at bay...

Failing that just apply force using a pointy object or a drill.

Re:dude.. (4, Funny)

Propaganda13 (312548) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795319)

Make a sticker with Certified by and Do Not Remove Under Penalty of Law on it. Scribble a name and date on it.

Re:dude.. (5, Interesting)

compro01 (777531) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795405)

Reminds me of when I worked for the Saskatchewan government. Every piece of hardware has a "Property of GOS" sticker on it, with an item # and barcode. The various people (Crown prosecutors, etc.) who needed to disable the camera on their provided phone/blackberry/etc. would simply have that sticker over the camera lens.

Re:dude.. (4, Insightful)

oneplus999 (907816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795531)

A sticker over the lens will usually keep the casual inspector at bay...

Except, on the off chance that they do find out it's still functional, he could be in trouble. Since he clearly has no interest in ever using the camera, it would seem like painting over the lense with black paint would be the easiest way to convincingly break it.

Re:dude.. (5, Funny)

InsertWittyNameHere (1438813) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795481)

I always just cover it with my thumb when I open the lid to show them that there's no camera. It's foolproof!

Simple, really. (1)

buss_error (142273) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795181)

A glob of two part epoxy over the lense should do the trick for you.

(Someone else asked about black berrys)

On a crack-berry, if you don't WANT to read the emails
when you take it out of the hoslster (like, to answer
the PHONE), drill out the magnet in the holster.

Re:Simple, really. (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795257)

Especially since, done properly, it's easy to install as a fake and pop right off for when you do want a recording of the judge's hijinx in the court room

Re:Simple, really. (1)

Morkano (786068) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795695)

Drilling out the magnet will prevent it from going to sleep when you stick it in there, fyi. Bad for the battery life.

These places should do what others do (5, Informative)

ggendel (1061214) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795183)

Many high security establishments, both government and commercial, realize that they can't stop technology without serious concessions. What some do are to put a special tamper-proof tag over the camera. Then they just inspect the tag when you exit and, if tampered, confiscate the device until it can be validated.

Re:These places should do what others do (4, Insightful)

BitterOak (537666) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795377)

Many high security establishments, both government and commercial, realize that they can't stop technology without serious concessions. What some do are to put a special tamper-proof tag over the camera. Then they just inspect the tag when you exit and, if tampered, confiscate the device until it can be validated.

What good would confiscating the device after the fact do? If these are really "high security" establishments as you say, wouldn't they be concerned that you might "tamper" with the tag, use the camera to photograph or record video of sensitive materials or discussions, then encrypt and transmit said photos or videos to a far-off website, all before leaving the establishment? Confiscating the device at that point would be like closing the barn door after the horses escaped.

Re:These places should do what others do (1)

supernova_hq (1014429) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795559)

Yes, but they'll know which stable-boy's ass to fill with firecrackers!

Re:These places should do what others do (2, Interesting)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795565)

True high-security environments are designed against RF leakage, although as the poster states, such environments wouldn't allow a camera in to begin with. Actually they usually prohibit cell phones of any type, so it's all moot. It's sort of overkill, because there's nothing to keep people from remembering what they see, and if they work there they probably see quite a lot. Such schisms are typical of government though.. place armed guards at the entrance who will let you in with a dollar bill wrapped around a credit card (back when IDs were green). I'm certainly not going to enumerate current security vulnerabilities, but I will say that whoever coined the phrase "security theater" was pretty much on the mark. Most security works as a deterrent, and only sometimes as actual prevention.

Re:These places should do what others do (1)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795567)

Well if the area was sheilded so you could not make a wireless connection then you would have to store the data on the device.

Re:These places should do what others do (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27795723)

Because removable media haven't been invented yet?

Re:These places should do what others do (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795671)

The problem that I see is that these kinds of devices are pretty obvious about containing a camera. I'm sure a dedicated microcamera using the same kind of module and some compact electronics could be better concealed than an iPhone or a notebook computer. I think one can be easily made that's about the size of a dinner mint with inexpensive and mostly off the shelf parts, if you don't require a screen.

Re:These places should do what others do (1)

Korbeau (913903) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795437)

A special tamper-proof tag? Do you mean all my consumer electronics contain a special spying camera?!

Re:These places should do what others do (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27795499)

This will not work with phones as you can send the pictures and then delete them later. Plus, the damage you can do is much greater than the cost of the phone. Usually you get banned from the site, not nice if your job depends on it.

Re:These places should do what others do (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27795545)

Or they something that makes a lot more sense. Allow people to have cameras in non-sensitive area and confiscate any phones/cameras in sensitive areas, even if the phone does not have a camera.

Just read specs - plenty of items out there (1)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795189)

I attend several film festivals each year, which include several world premieres and advanced screenings. Some of those festivals can be pretty picky about even camera phones.

I guess I don't understand the original question. There's no secret website where all the items lack cameras, but almost every site lists a full spec for their products, including the presence (or lack of) camera. There is a market for those that don't want cameras, so devices exist and will continue to exist.

Instead of an iPhone, I have an iPod Touch, which costs half as much, has no monthly fee, and has all the same features except the cellular service, an external mic and speaker, and the camera. Then I have a phone that can do text and voice but, again, lacks a camera. My laptop has one, but I'm not taking that into movies all the time. If I was, I'd have ordered one without it and waited for it, just like you did with your Dell.

Lie (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27795193)

Conceal the camera somehow, if it's obvious. That's what I do if I'm somewhere like that with my phone.

Black Electrical tape? (1)

madcat2c (1292296) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795197)

or white out? lol

keep digging, Watson (2, Interesting)

KillerBob (217953) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795201)

Choosing an option without a webcam isn't why you had to wait for your Mini 9. When I ordered one (64GB HDD, Ubuntu, 2GB of RAM, no webcam) I got it inside of a week. Chances are the reason you had to wait was because you chose a common configuration that everybody else was ordering.

You could also look at a larger screen size of a notebook. Again with Dells, you can quite easily specify no webcam option. It's actually a charged upgrade for them to get the webcam. I'm fairly sure that other manufacturers can also sell you a notebook without a webcam, but HP doesn't sell a consumer laptop with Linux preinstalled. :)

Remove it yourself (1)

markdavis (642305) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795203)

If it is that important to you, then "remove" it yourself. Probably the easiest thing to do is to find a thin sheet of plastic the same color as the case and epoxy and small piece of it over the camera. This pretty much permanently disables it and doesn't overly mess up the look of the machine.

Drill (2, Insightful)

emeitner (513842) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795207)

A drill with a 1/4" bit will surely remove the offending camera from the device and, if done properly, will convince even the $7/hr guards while leaving the device operable. YMMV.

Re:Drill (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27795271)

yeah, I was going to say disassemble the macbook and remove it, but that's a pain the ass. I like your way better.

If you don't mind used... (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795213)

I use a HP TC1100 [wikipedia.org] as a portable. 40 gig hard drive, 1 Ghz processor, gig of RAM, WinXP Tablet Edition. It's a tough little machine with a full 1024x768 tablet (stylus) screen.

You can normally find them with their docking station for about 400 on eBay. It's a great little machine.

No kidding... (4, Funny)

modestgeek (1449921) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795217)

I'm tired of not being able to bring my cell phone into the strip club... I don't wear a watch and rely on the phone for time as well as coordination. The last bachelor party we went to ran WAY over because nobody knew the time and where to meet the limo.

Re:No kidding... (2, Funny)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795593)

I've never been to a strip club that didn't allow phones w/cameras. Taking pictures is another issue, but good luck getting a worthwhile picture without flash photography anyway. (No pun intended).

but there's no way to order a MacBook without (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27795255)

http://images.apple.com/server/macosx/docs/Leopard_Security_Config_2nd_Ed.pdf [apple.com] Page 47: You can also have an Apple Authorized Technician remove the built-in video camera hardware from your Apple computer.

Re:but there's no way to order a MacBook without (1)

oneiros27 (46144) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795621)

Software disabling is *not* enough in these situations, as they anything that can be turned off with software can be turned back on with software

This has been a problem for quite some time, however, there are some places that are normally camera-averse that don't have the same restrictions on laptops with cameras. (it's a bit more obvious if you're trying to take a picture in a courtroom with a laptop camera, whereas a phone based camera can be more easily palmed

In other cases, the limitations may be based on the resolution of the camera (you can't use it as easily to make copies of vital documents when it's 640x480) ... I've been told even NRL allows low-res cameras on the base now -- they used to confiscate them at the security gate.

I remember bringing up the issue of the cameras to an Apple government rep back when they showed their first laptops with them ... unfortunately, it was so long ago that I can't remember what the response was, and I don't work at a place where they're restricted so I've never had to follow up.

This may sound stupid, but why wait? (2, Insightful)

nateb (59324) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795265)

Why wait to get a stupid notebook/cell phone/whatever when I'm sure you or a friend have a drill? Just drill the damned thing out, and caulk up the hole.

I'm pretty sure that will convince folks that you don't have a camera installed.

The Nate

Re:This may sound stupid, but why wait? (1)

supernova_hq (1014429) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795589)

Or don't caulk up the hole. That way you can shove a pencil through it to PROVE there's no camera!

Toughbooks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27795285)

Could a toughbook work?

http://www.panasonic.com/business/Toughbook/toughbook-products.asp

You can run OS X on the Dell Mini 9 (2, Informative)

kmoorman (873896) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795295)

If you are a Mac guy with a Dell Mini 9 you can run OS X on it: http://i.gizmodo.com/5156903/how-to-hackintosh-a-dell-mini-9-into-the-ultimate-os-x-netbook [gizmodo.com]

Re:You can run OS X on the Dell Mini 9 (0)

Narishma (822073) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795647)

And what does this have to do with anything?

military solution (4, Informative)

v1 (525388) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795301)

The US govt bought some macbooks without cameras. I don't know if Apple removed them before selling to them, or if they had a 3rd party doing the removal process. What I DO know is they were manufactured with the cameras in them, and removed after production and packaging.

Re:military solution (5, Informative)

paxswill (934322) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795599)

You can get Apple to remove the camera. I remember reading in a security document about disabling the camera. An option listed is to have it removed by an Apple service center (an Apple Store might do it, but unlikely), and they'll make a note of it in the Applecare database. You get a warranty, no camera, and access to secured areas.

Fuji P1620 + Nokia 6021 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27795303)

Get a Nokia 6021 - horrible horrible phone, but no camera. My Fujitsu P1620 mini laptop (not a netbook - it is actually useful as a primary computer) is 1kg, 9" screen and no camera.

Lots of options, if you know where to look. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27795337)

I ordered a cameraless HTC Fuze through AT&Ts Business Website; many cellular carriers provide modified, sans-camera versions of their popular handsets to businesses only on a hefty discount, so that's worth a look.

You'd also be surprised at how many camera removal services are out there. There's a local store who will remove cameras from iPhones and cover the lens hole with a piece of cardboard on the inside of the phone (I know, paper + electronics = bad) to show the camera was unusable. Most disassembly guides will cover such removal or replacement instructions.

If all else fails, talk to the head of security at your facility (Not the guard, but the actual head honcho); he may have recommendations or suggestions as to how to get your personal equipment through screening without permanent modifications.

drill it (1)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795357)

Either pay more for a device with fewer features, or spend a minute, drill the lens out and plug the hole with some epoxy. Touch up with some enamel paint. If you don't like to do it yourself, any number of repair shops (just about any kind) can do it for you.

Same way it's usually cheaper and much easier to buy a PC with Windows, delete it and install Ubuntu than try to find a manufacturer to supply it for you out of the box.

Re:drill it (1)

Fieryphoenix (1161565) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795371)

My thoughts exactly. If the camera is obviously destroyed beyond functionality, there should be no problem.

Lenovo T series? (1)

mafemmo (994550) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795359)

I bought a Lenovo T61 a year back that did not have an inbuilt camera. Perhaps the newer Lenovo T400s also provide that option?

Re:Lenovo T series? (2, Informative)

billDCat (448249) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795707)

The T60s [ibm.com] and T61s [ibm.com] still ship without cameras.

$12/hr security guard? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27795365)

What does a security guard's wage have to do with his willingness to let you in with an otherwise illicit device that you have given "scout's honor" to be artificially limited by software?

Simple: Spraypaint it! (1)

Bobnova (1435535) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795367)

For starters the dell outlet always has non-camera mini9's. Beyond that, spraypainting the camera lens would probably convince a $12/hour type.

you can get a iphone w/o a camera (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27795387)

Actually you can get a iphone and other equipment sans camera-but its usually a aftermarket modification that removes it.

The easy solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27795395)

Go to a local electronic swap meet, spend $50 on a refurbished laptop. Done.

Pretty strict court houses... (1)

jerquiaga (859470) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795403)

I got called for jury the other day, and I put my iPhone and my MSI Wind (with webcam) down right in front of the security guards and they let me walk right through. Maybe our court house isn't quite as intense...

This will get interesting (5, Interesting)

Sybert42 (1309493) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795407)

There's someone who's implanting a camera to replace a glass eye. With the singularity and associated transhumanism, this will get more complicated.

Re:This will get interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27795617)

Look behind you! The SiNgularity! Which is so unknown (not undefined) that it makes whenever that boogeyman jumps out of the bottle to be just a tad more complex than "complicated" yet not unordered. So on the magic day Elvis returns and suddenly reality is replaced with Shodan things will be "really frackin' complex".

Re:This will get interesting (3, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795683)

We will have to pay for remembering songs and movies, not just for watching them.

Stick a fork in it (1)

Salgat (1098063) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795413)

If the thing is smashed in or if you painted over it then it longer becomes a concern.

Spray Paint and Super Glue (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27795421)

I have a similar working situation. Here, we petitioned to be allowed to bring in devices with cameras. The seriously non-technical solution we arrived at is to spray paint over the lens with the color of the case, let it dry, then superglue a piece of clear plastic over the spray paint. The judges approved of it (and did it with their own devices) and security was notified to be aware of this modification.

The only issue? Warranty. The solution? Letter from the judge and from the head of security stating why the procedure was necessary, that to their knowledge the manufacturer of the product has no alternatives without cameras, and to please perform a warranty repair on all portions of the device except the camera. Several of us have taken our devices for repairs. Dell cried like a little girl, but was finally convinced. Apple said no problem, but the camera is not covered. Sony said piss off and die. So, your mileage may vary.

Nevertheless, it works, and a curious security guard just has to pry at it to realize it is not coming off.

A script? Really? (-1, Redundant)

Guysmiley777 (880063) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795423)

Maybe the $12/hr security guard realizes that if you've disabled the camera in software there's nothing stopping you from re-enabling it?

My sympathies (1)

onyxruby (118189) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795429)

I had to go through that a few years ago. Lenovo sells a number of laptops without cameras, so look at what they have. As for phones, that can be even harder.

Last time I had to buy a phone like that it took me half an hour to get it through rep's at Verizon's head that I wasn't looking for a cheap prepay phone..... When all was said and done I had a choice of three phones in the store, and had to settle for a floor display for an out of production phone.

An idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27795435)

You could get a HP Mini. The webcam on those doesn't work anyway.

iPod touch = iPhone - phone - camera (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27795439)

the iPod touch is basically an iPhone, but with no phone & no camera. Add in a cheap cell phone (have to dig pretty deep to get one w/out a camera) & you're good to go. & for all you security-guard haters, a lot of the alleged $12/hour security guards at federal facilities are US Marshals. Taping over the camera is not going to make them happy, & you don't want pissed-off marshals on your ass.

I disable MacBook cameras every day (1)

scottdmontreal (1003416) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795459)

This is part of life at a private high school. The parents have to consent to cameras in the computers, otherwise they are removed. In the current MacBooks you would kill the screen if you unplugged the camera, so we opted for a launchd script that makes sure the camera stays off. The parents are more agreeable to this than the drill-press option. I would be very proud of any grade 9 student that could beat the script.

Re:I disable MacBook cameras every day (1)

supernova_hq (1014429) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795611)

You never met the grade 9 students at my old high-school! By grade 9 we were accessing restricted network folders, and we didn't even have physical access to THAT machine!

$12/hour security guard (4, Insightful)

drolli (522659) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795461)

> Disabling the camera with a script or somesuch won't convince the $12/hour security guard that there's no camera.

It also would not convince me.

Ever try the oldest trick in the book? (1)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795587)

> Disabling the camera with a script or somesuch won't convince the $12/hour security guard that there's no camera.

It also would not convince me.

Outside of a Federal Building, I'm guessing that most places visited have the same $12/hour Security Guard that is more window dressing than anything. "Uh, I left it in my car" in response to "do you have a cell phone?" works more often than not, sad to say.(not that I condone bending the truth or anything...)

Simple: use sandpaper (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27795491)

Just buy what you want and hit the lens with some 400 grit or emery cloth. Paint to taste. The camera has been [most likely permanently] disabled in an easily verifiable way without disturbing the electronics. Cruel but effect.

time travel? (1)

pablo_max (626328) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795497)

You could always travel back to 1995 and get one of those Macs...or you could buy an actual business Lenevo, which by and large do not have cameras.

Other devs... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27795511)

Many times going into a sensitive computing area all recording devices and wireless devices must be removed. Not only cameras but microphones, wifi, blue tooth. When these devices are built-in it creates problems trying to remove them or disabling them.

Thinkpad, for one (1)

chebucto (992517) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795523)

The (not low end) thinkpad I got a few months ago had the camera as an option. A brief look at other brands would probably reveal the same thing. Hell, you could just ask the other people working there what they use.

If you love apple too much to lower youself to using a wintel machine, why not get an old mac? The recent macbooks/ibooks may be camera-free. I know that the Pismo (powerbook g3 400/500) series is great, and can run OSX10.4 (haven't tried 10.5, sorry).

Hot soldering iron tip through the lens (1)

RiffRafff (234408) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795543)

Hot soldering iron tip through the lens. I've heard that works; I've no real experience with it.

Simple (1)

DirtyCanuck (1529753) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795569)

Icepick and hammer

You work in a federal court? Where's your ID? (1)

TreyGeek (1391679) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795601)

You work in a federal court? Where's your ID that lets you walk by the US Marshall without going through security procedure? You shouldn't have to worry about cameras on your laptop or your cell phone. Even if you don't "Work in a federal court" it is as simple as answering the US Marshall's responding to the question, "Do you have a camera on that thing?", "No Sir." I've passed by a US Marshall manning a metal detector too many times to know this should work.

I'm amazed at how many say "Put some tape over it" (4, Insightful)

Yosho (135835) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795613)

Or paint, or plastic, or whatever.

Do you really think the guys he works with are so stupid that somebody won't eventually say "hey, is that covering up a camera?" then peel it back and discover the camera there? And then the guy in question will get fired and probably face legal charges for knowingly bringing a functional camera into the place.

You're best off just getting something without a camera, really. If you absolutely have to get a device with a camera, find a technician who will physically remove the device for you. The feds do not appreciate people who think they can half-ass security measures and get away with it.

Re:I'm amazed at how many say "Put some tape over (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795665)

I have spent some time working at heavily secured government sites in South Korea. They check for cameras on the way in. I got caught once by accident. I got it back at the end of the day. But people I work with there all carry phones and all mobile phones in that country have cameras. They just don't use them on site.

So yes I believe that covering the camera with tape might be acceptable, stupid as that may seem.

What's wrong with the touch? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27795615)

The iPod Touch doesn't have a camera. If you are willing to put the phone on that list, why not the touch??

Re:What's wrong with the touch? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27795655)

no phone maybe?

Device in a courtroom? (1)

pcfixup4ua (1263816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795659)

Wouldn't it be better to not permit cell phones or computers in these areas? (Courtrooms in particular?)

Just use stickers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27795711)

I work for my government here in EU and cameras aren't allowed, yet I have a netbook and a handy with a camera. How? Easy: I have just covered the camera lens with stickers. Twice the security guard asked whether they have cameras, I showed the sticker-covered lens, and allowed me in.

toshiba portege r500 series (1)

pseudonomous (1389971) | more than 5 years ago | (#27795717)

Is a slightly older "ultraportable" that comes without a camera, you can still buy 'em new from Toshiba though. That said, a LOT of older laptops, including older ultraportables, do not come with webcams, and are available much cheaper used then they used to sell for new.

Get the mac you want and mod it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27795725)

It should be relatively easy to open the case and physically remove the camera. If you need to, pay someone $100 to do it.

Remember, you can have what you want without compromise.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>