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I did a fresh install of Ubuntu 12.04 LTS on my Compaq Presario C700. I've had previous versions installed, starting with 9.10, but startup speed was slow so I decided to back everything up and re-create the partitions.

Every time I boot the system into the login screen, the webcam turns on, stays on for a few seconds, then turns off. It does the exact same thing everytime I launch Shotwell. I've also seen it come on at random times as I've used the computer. I'm starting to get a little paranoid, and would appreciate any help in identifying the cause of this behaviour.

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Welcome to AskUbuntu. Please run dmesg | grep cam and see if it outputs anything. If it outputs anything useful please include it in your question. – NlightNFotis Sep 1 '12 at 16:11
I have the same thing at the login screen but I suspect it is related to the microphone, not the camera. I don't get it with Shotwell, but I do get it with Chrome, which slows browsing down drastically. I wouldn't be paranoid about it, esp. on a clean install. It's a bug, not someone controlling your cam remotely. I'd love to figure this out too. I guarantee it is related to the mic/sound system somehow. – Tom Brossman Sep 1 '12 at 16:36

This sounds like an issue in GPhoto, since both Shotwell and GVFS (which Nautilus uses, for example) initialize and use GPhoto to detect cameras.

The next step is probably to file a ticket with them:

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