Purism criticizes Apple for its no webcam tape/covers on MacBooks advice

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Librem Linux smartphones and laptops maker, Purism says Apple is wrong in asking MacBook users to not cover their Webcams

Apple has recently advised its MacBook users not to tape their webcams or use external webcam covers. Apple in a support bulletin said that using tapes/physical covers could eventually degrade the webcam and damage the MacBook display. The Apple advisory says that MacBook users should just rely on the indicator light that shows when the camera is active.

Apple explains that using a webcam cover, such as a small piece of tape, could actually break down features like the ambient light sensor or True Tone. Apple may have its reasons to warn MacBook users, but Librem Linux smartphones and laptop makers don’t like Apple’s advice. In a blog post, Purism Chief Security Officer, Kyle Rankin says Apple’s advice is ‘discouraging’ from a security point of view. Rankin says that Apple wants its users to follow the “just trust us” policy which is very unsound cybersecurity advice to give.

“While this advice is consistent with Apple’s overall “just trust us” approach to security, it completely misses the point of why people used webcam covers to begin with: to claw back the tiniest bit of control over their privacy from hardware and software companies,” Rankin says in the post.

Rankin is very critical of this sort of cybersecurity approach and says that Apple is doing more harm than good by telling MacBook users to rely on it for cybersecurity. Rankin says that if MacBook owners follow Apple’s advisory, they will lose control over their security.

“The fundamental flaw with Apple’s approach is that it takes all control over security and privacy away from you. To be secure you must fully trust Apple and their security measures and if anything ever happens to violate that trust, such as a security exploit, there isn’t much you can do about it,” Rankin adds.

Rankin says that Purism believes in totally opposite concept for providing security to users. While Purism offers users Kill Switches to kill their microphone, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, webcam, etc. and be in control, Apple wants to be the sole security custodian for such services. “Apple and Purism take completely different approaches to security. Apple’s approach is to require customers to hand over all trust and control to Apple and depend upon Apple for all of their security. Purism’s approach is to give customers control over their own computers and provide security without depending upon Purism. Webcam security is a great lens through which to view these completely opposite approaches,” Rankin adds, “In the end, your privacy and your computer should belong to you, not the vendor that sold it.”

Purism is a Linux hardware maker and sells Linux smartphones, tablets, and laptops under the Librem brand. All Librem devices are designed to protect privacy and freedom by avoiding the Intel Active Management Technology. All Librem laptops feature hardware kill switches for the microphone, webcam, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

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"The Internet is the first thing that humanity has built that humanity doesn't understand, the largest experiment in anarchy that we have ever had." Eric Schmidt

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