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Remote webcam mode - why we refuse to remove the warning banner

One of the most interesting features in Remote Utilities is the ability to connect to a remote computer’s camera and watch what is happening in the room. The camera can be an external webcam attached to the PC or a built-in camera in a notebook. This connection mode is very handy, for example, when you need to look after your kids playing while you’re at work. You can also capture sound from the camera microphone, allowing you not only see but also hear what is happening in the room.


Image source: campatch.com/campatch-academy-study

The remote webcam mode, however, has one notable privacy feature that some may consider a limitation. During the “remote surveillance” session the program displays a warning banner on the remote computer screen that reads: “Attention! Video surveillance is activated!” This alerts the user sitting at the remote PC that surveillance is turned on, and someone may be watching them (or listening to what they say).

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A Mediated Connection vs. NAT Traversal Techniques and Hole Punching

When it comes to accessing a remote desktop over the Internet, there are basically two options: a direct IP to IP connection or a mediated connection. In recent years it has been an increasing trend among major remote desktop software vendors to provide the latter connection type. For a customer it is much easier to use a simple number (an ID) for connecting rather than configuring a router and grappling with port forwarding.


Given the popularity of this technique, many users started to ask: “Is the traffic routed through the company’s mediation servers all of the time or is the mediation server used only once to initiate the connection?” This question is often followed by an immediate answer that such-and-such company utilizes a NAT traversal technique, such as UDP hole punching, in their software. And that with NAT traversal the mediation server only initiates the connection and then leaves both sides alone to communicate directly to each other.

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