Dell wants privacy driver in Linux to disable laptop camera hardware

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Dell suggests integrating support for its privacy drivers into the Linux kernel. Users of Dell laptops running Linux can use hotkeys to disable the microphone and webcam hardware.

Dell’s proposed integration of privacy drivers into the kernel is privacy mode, which prevents applications from accessing microphone audio and webcam images. Due to the change, the kernel can monitor the hardware kill switch and display the status by means of LEDs. The microphone can be switched off by pressing the key combination Ctrl + F4, and the camera can be deactivated by using Ctrl + F9.

The proposal was made by Perry Yuan from Dell. It is not known if and when the drivers will be integrated into the kernel. Dell has been equipping versions of laptops with Linux for years, mainly Ubuntu.

Purism previously introduced a privacy mode for its Librem laptops running Linux, ZDNet notes. These devices have a so-called Hardware Kill Switch to disable not only the webcam and microphone, but also the WiFi and Bluetooth modules.

Update Monday 3.30 pm: Article has been adapted (Friday afternoon) based on comments from, among others, xfj that the hardware deactivation of the microphone and webcam is going to be done.

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