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Hardware switch for microphone and cameras to improve privacy

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Tags: #<Tag:0x00007fefc3b63608>

#1

Dear Fairphone team,
I am wondering if privacy should not be a big part of the “Fairphone” philosophy. I am interested in finding a phone, and computer for that matter, which allows the owner to turn off the cameras and microphones with a simple hardware switch. I am kind of sick wondering if any hacker or “Security Service” can listen and watch uninvited into my private environment. I am afraid that software solutions to shut down the microphone
and cameras can easily be breached with the right amount criminal intend.

I think it would be fantastic if Fairphone could include these two hardware switches in their next editions.

Or said in another way: If you can’t open
it or turn it off, than you don’t own it :wink:

Best regards,

Robby1


:pencil2: FP2 wishlist vs reality
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#2

I found a hardware extension compatible with the fairphone that lets you swich off cameras and muffle the microphone.

EDIT: Joking aside. As this is a request to the Fairphone team and not the community you should contact them directly via support or you could add your request to the Wishlist for the FP2


#3


#4

@paulakreuzer Made my day! :slight_smile:


#5

LOOOOOOLLLLL Nice! :smiley: :joy:


#6

This is actually and interesting idea :thumbsup:. Not sure how complicated that is but very pragmatic thinking @Robby1. I Always wanted something like that for my webcam.


#7

Seriously, this was an advice a police official gave on national TV in Belgium last year or so…
I know people actually doing this, putting a piece of post-it over their laptop’s webcam.


#8

I am using a small strong magnetic disc, which I can slide back and forth on the screen to cover the camera without violating my aesthetic senses with a yellow Post-it :wink:


#9

Great idea. With “hardware switch” you probably mean something like a separate power button for the microphone and photo sensor(s).


#10

Exactly, this could be a cheap slide switch cutting only off the connection from the cameras and microphone. This makes it impossible for any hacker to intrude your phone via software manipulations. At the same time will you be reachable. You will always be able to use other functions of your phone like surf or text.
I think this is a simple solution to have peace of mind and privacy in the bed or boardroom :wink:


#11

It’s really a GREAT idea! Is it already on the wishlist for FP2?


#12

I sometimes wish there was a hardware switch for Wifi and mobile. Or for airplane mode, now that would be the ultimate safety switch.


#13

single would be smarter: off / mic / mic+cam


#14

Absolutely, the simpler the better. One switch for disabling microphone and camera would be sufficient!


#15

This is a great idea and should really be a standard feature on all phones. Fairphone should lead the way on this one.


closed #16

opened #17

#18

In relation to Edward Snowden, Wikileaks, Vault7 etc. I was wondering if and where I could suggest something to the hardware developing team.
It seems likely that it would be possible to make it possible to manually/mechanically disconnect cameras and/or microphone (and/or gps module) on a phone.
It seems that more and more customers wants to have control over their own privacy. Since software is usually more invisibly/distantly hacked I find it optimal to find a hardware solution.
Some solutions:

  1. Slidable cover (camera)
  2. Hard clinging film - that works without adhesive (camera)
  3. Slidable module with 2 positions (connected/not connected) (camera/mic/gps)
  4. a hardware mechanical button on the side of the phone that disconnects/connects the camera from power/datatransfer (camera/mic/gps)

Hope this can reach the development team somehow.


#19

Well this is a community forum, so if you want to contact Fairphone directly you’ll have to do it via support.

I think your ideas are probably feasible, but I don’t think Fairphone is the right company to experiment on such features. Privacy is surely important but Fairphone’s priorities are conflict-free and fair production as well as longevity and repairability. Fairphone designs their phones mostly based on those things and slidable modules that can come off on their own and fall to the ground or buttons that break easily are probably not the way to go for Fairphone.

You can however operate a Fairphone with just the main module, the screen and the battery. There is also a dummy camera module that has no function, but only fills the gap and it’s probably not too hard to design a top and bottom module without microphones and the front camera, but just the USB-port and headphone jack.


#20

I think the topic has some importance,
considering the last revealing of spy-technics. The “really important people” or criminals will get the battery out of their phone, when conspiring. But what about some chinese political activists in their private rooms, or some lawyer or doctor in their office?
What is the main privacy-problem - the microphone, the camera, gps or wlan? I think the microphone. And anyway it’s comfortable to get it off sometimes when you pause a call. This button could also be used to accept a call or to start the phone-app (using a second signal wire), when the button is moved to ‘on’. It could also be a push-button with a flip-flop-function.