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Article from Issue 242/2021
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In the news: Dell to Enable Privacy Controls for Linux Hardware; Linux Mint Unveils New Packages; Pop!_OS 20.10 Now Supports DEB822 Format; Ubuntu 20.10 with Raspberry Pi Support; SaltStack Acquisition Brings More Automation to VMware; and New Storage Model Could Replace POSIX.

Dell to Enable Privacy Controls for Linux Hardware

Dell has completely embraced the Linux community. With one of the finest Linux-based laptops on the market (the XPS Developer Edition), Dell is definitely no stranger to open source and the needs of those who use it. Case in point, many Linux users are quite savvy in the realms of privacy and security. With most modern laptops equipped with webcams and microphones, which can be used (either by accident or via nefarious means) in less-than-desirable ways, it has become crucial for many users to have control over those features.

To that end, Dell has offered up code to the Linux kernel for the Dell privacy drivers. What this feature will do is allow users (via keyboard shortcuts) to disable the built-in microphone and/or webcam on supported devices. The applicable shortcuts will be Ctrl+F4 for the microphone and Ctrl+F9 for the webcam.

The Dell privacy drivers will go a long way to prevent malicious (or accidental) usage, but users will have to wait until 2021 for the new feature to find its way into Dell hardware.

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