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They have also become a source of security and privacy issues, as some built-in webcams can be remotely activated by spyware.
The most popular use of webcams is the establishment of video links, permitting computers to act as videophones or videoconference stations.
Unauthorized access of webcams can present significant privacy issues (see "Privacy" section below).
In December 2011, Russia announced that 290,000 Webcams would be installed in 90,000 polling stations to monitor the Russian presidential election, 2012.
Video features, including faces, shapes, models and colors can be observed and tracked to produce a corresponding form of control.
For example, the position of a single light source can be tracked and used to emulate a mouse pointer, a head-mounted light would enable hands-free computing and would greatly improve computer accessibility.
Webcams can be used to take video clips and still pictures.
One such function has the webcam act as a "magic mirror" to allow an online shopper to view a virtual item on themselves.Webcam features and performance can vary by program, computer operating system, and also by the computer's processor capabilities.Video calling support has also been added to several popular instant messaging programs. Software is available to allow PC-connected cameras to watch for movement and sound, a computer e-mailed images of the burglar during the theft of the computer, enabling the owner to give police a clear picture of the burglar's face even after the computer had been stolen.A webcam is a video camera that feeds or streams its image in real time to or through a computer to a computer network.When "captured" by the computer, the video stream may be saved, viewed or sent on to other networks via systems such as the internet, and emailed as an attachment.