[whatwg] Do we really need to introduce a <device> element for giving access to webcams and mikes?

Anne van Kesteren annevk at opera.com
Mon May 3 19:13:48 PDT 2010

On Tue, 04 May 2010 11:01:14 +0900, Julien Cayzac  
<julien.cayzac at gmail.com> wrote:
> I've been reading lately about the new proposed <device> element, and
> was wondering if it was needed at all.
> IMHO, a video originating from an attached camera is not different
> from a video originating from the network, so <video> could be used
> here.
> Displaying the webcam in a page could be done like this:
> <video autoplay controls>
>     <source src="webcam:640,480,25" /> <!-- 640x480, 25fps -->
>     <source src="webcam:320,240,*" /> <!-- will be tried if the webcam
> doesn't support the above settings -->
>     <source src="mire.mp4" /> <!-- no webcam attached? show this video
> instead -->
> </video>
> Same could be done with <audio> for adding microphone support, and in
> both cases the browser should notify the user the page is requesting
> permission to access these devices.
> Now, I am aware HTMLMediaElement doesn't offer any methods to actually
> query the data it serves or to get notified as more incoming data gets
> received, which makes my proposal useless. Still, such methods could
> be used in other scenarios, like a browser-based video editing app, so
> adding them would make sense in my opinion.

What is the model for protecting user privacy here?

Large part of the motivation for something like the <device> element is  
that the user is actively involved in giving the website the ability to  
access the user's camera stream and use it. (E.g. manipulate it through  
<canvas> or transmit it over the wire using WebSocket.)

Anne van Kesteren

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