Paris-based fashion designer Arthur Lhermitte only wanted to raise €150 ($236) for his Kickstarter project over the course of 20 days. But after 18 days, he’s smashed that target thousands of times over and is set to pocket nearly $30,000.
And while the raise amount itself is impressive, it becomes doubly so when considering the unusual nature of Lhermitte’s product. Rather than funding a snappy new tech product or innovative new board game, the designer is instead asking users to pony up for tiny, 9mm thick, leather circles.
No, they’re not tiny microphones or GPS tracking dots; these leather circles are designed to be placed on your laptop in order to totally black out your webcam.
As crazy as it might sound, the practice of putting a piece of tape or dab of blu-tack over laptop webcams and microphones has become increasingly commonplace in recent times, as users become more and more concerned about potential breaches of their privacy.
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The concern isn’t rooted in some Orwellian concept of constant government surveillance (although …); users are more concerned about malicious software or compromised websites surreptitiously enabling their webcams and filming them. Then, depending on how compromising the footage is, hackers could hold people to ransom using the footage, demanding thousands in payment lest they release it to the public — and the victim’s friends and family.
Even Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg reportedly covers his laptop’s vulnerables.
Mark Zuckerberg's laptop microphone and webcam taped over pic.twitter.com/y6ppzI50b7
— Dylan Curran (@iamdylancurran) April 10, 2018
Now thanks to Lhermitte, those amongst us seeking for a fancier way to cover our webcams can rejoice, as finally there’s an appropriately bougie solution to our privacy concerns. No longer do we have to stoop to the levels of peasants by using a common-or-garden scrap of blu-tack, or corner of duct tape. Quick, someone let Zuck know!
Despite its mild ridiculousness, Lhermitte’s ‘Quickstarter’ has absolutely obliterated its funding target by around 11,200%. Users can back it for as low as $8, which gets you a selection of seven different colour leather sticky dots.
But if you want real high fashion, $16 can get you seven dots in limited edition snake-skin leather.
Lhermitte runs Striiipes, a Paris-based fashion house that is known for its tongue-in-cheek, and at times unusual, leather fashion goods. The idea for the webcam covers came to him after trying to devise a way to better use the leather offcuts from his products that would otherwise go to waste.
So if you’re looking for a stylish, cheap, and hack-proof way to protect your privacy online, look no further. I guess.