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.The Webcam Social Shopper is one example of software that utilizes the webcam in this manner.Webcam can be added to instant messaging, text chat services such as AOL Instant Messenger, and Vo IP services such as Skype, one-to-one live video communication over the Internet has now reached millions of mainstream PC users worldwide.Webcams can be used to take video clips and still pictures.Various software tools in wide use can be employed for this, such as Pic Master (for use with Windows operating systems), Photo Booth (Mac), or Cheese (with Unix systems).By removing the IR filter of the webcam, IR LEDs can be used, which has the advantage of being invisible to the naked eye, removing a distraction from the user.Track IR is a commercial version of this technology.
Small webcam-based PC games are available as either standalone executables or inside web browser windows using Adobe Flash.
The lenses of the cameras are removed and then these are attached to telescopes to record images, video, still, or both.
In newer techniques, videos of very faint objects are taken for a couple of seconds and then all the frames of the video are "stacked" together to obtain a still image of respectable contrast.
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.