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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.

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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.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.This can be applied to games, providing additional control, improved interactivity and immersiveness.Free Track is a free webcam motion-tracking application for Microsoft Windows that can track a special head-mounted model in up to six degrees of freedom and output data to mouse, keyboard, joystick and Free Track-supported games.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.Webcam features and performance can vary by program, computer operating system, and also by the computer's processor capabilities.