Last week, a Texas NBC affiliate reported that a Dell technician remotely turned on a woman's webcam via the Internet without her permission. The woman, Dianna Annunziato of North Richland Hills, originally called Dell Computer's customer support line after 9:30 pm because her new PC was having issues and was still under warranty. However, the online service call came to an abrupt halt.
"First, the technician started asking me what time of day it was," she told the Dallas-Forth Worth NBC affiliate. She then said that the technician activated the webcam a moment later—she could see herself peering back from a little box on the LCD monitor. She added that the technician did not ask for permission before activating the device.
Infuriated, Annunziato asked for a supervisor. Rather than receiving a sympathetic apology, she instead received laughter after explaining that she could have been sitting in her seat undressed when the device was activated. Shocked by the reaction, she decided to take matters to a higher level.
"We apologize for the issue and appreciate the customer bringing this matter to our attention," the company said in a statement. "An investigation is currently under way, and the company will administer appropriate action when complete."
As of currently, the NBC report is a bit sketchy on details. Did Annuziato accidentally hit a webcam/media button on her laptop? How was Dell able to access her computer through when she called by phone? Did her Dell come with remote access software designed for Dell technicians already in place? Why didn't Annunziato ask the tech what was going on? She didn't seem to mention if she even asked "did you just turn on my webcam?"
While Dell does offer remote access tech support, this could be a case of someone with an aim to extort some form of payment out of Dell.
And here is a random, totally not related pic...