While Apple wants MacBook users to remove Webcam tapes/covers, Purism’s Librem 14 Linux laptop now has microphone kill switch in addition to BIOS kill switch
After Apple issued an advisory to MacBook users to not cover their webcams with tapes or physical switches, the need and efficacy of such methods is being debated upon by tech gurus and pundits. The whole debate revolves around trusting Apple with users’ privacy and security. Many pro-Apple fanbois agree that users should let Apple decide what is best for them while the anti-camp says that kill switch is the way forward.
Apple may never offer a kill switch for the webcam on its MacBooks, but a Linux laptop maker, Purism is making kill switches its USP for selling its laptops. Purism is a Linux laptop maker that is huge on privacy and security. On 24th July Purism had announced that it will offer the Librem 14 PureOS power Linux laptops with BIOS kill switch which would give users BIOS and EC flash chip write protection.
Now the company CFO, Kyle Rankin has announced that Librem 14 will also feature a Microphone kill switch including even for those that are connected through the headphone jack. The Microphone kill switch will provide users physically disallow any spyware, hacker, or malware from using the microphone. If the Librem 14 user uses headsets with a built-in microphone, this kill switch disables the mic but leaves the audio to work properly so the user can continue to listen to any sound that comes through this port.
With the Librem 14 we have enhanced this kill switch so that it also disables the microphone in the headphone jack while leaving audio out unaffected. That way if you happen to leave a headset plugged in–which is common in the age of quarantined video chats–you can use the hardware kill switch to disable all microphones, even ones connected through the headphone jack.
The Librem 14 is a 14 inch Linux PureOS powered laptop with Intel Core i7 10710U processor. The Librem 14 is priced at $1499 but the company is offering a flat $300 discount if you pre-order before August 7, 2020.