Are there app-specific camera/microphone privacy settings?

Hi, I installed Zorin Core on my computer a few days ago and I'm already very happy. However, there's one thing that bothers me: On Windows I have global privacy settings for webcam and microphone access. On Android there are app-specific permissions.

However, there doesn't seem to be any dedicated privacy setting like that on Zorin. I know one can set the microphone's "volume" in the sound settings to zero but I'm not quite sure whether that reliably* prevents any app from listening.

Also, I already have a cover on my webcam but I'd like to have an option to disable camera access anyway. Also, there might situations where you need one application to have access and another one not to.

What can I do?

*as reliably as on Windows or Android

I doubt other Linux applications are spying on you. May be a chance for that if you’re using proprietary software but not with FOSS.
If you’re still concerned you can can see this: Which Linux Distro Is Best for Privacy? We've Done the Research [Guide]

PS - I too have a cover on my webcam but only because I have Skype installed.

PPS - MS uses telemetry that cannot be disabled. I wouldn’t trust their privacy settings, global or not.

It's not about secretly being spied on. In video conferences I only want to be seen and heard when I decide to - and not at an embarrassing moment or something.

That's true for Windows/Microsoft itself - but for regular third-party programs it just works fine.

So you don’t trust the video conferencing application’s own options to disable the audio/video, correct?
Core should have settings that allow you to disable your mic & camera. I know for the mic the setting is under Sound but I haven’t used Core for a while so I don’t recall exactly where the camera setting is - should be able to find it using Zorin menu -> search -> type “camera” or “video” and see what comes up.

If you want a secure meeting then use a chromium based browser and use You can disable mic and video from launch as it asks if you want to allow permissions. You can set password and enable end-to-end encryption but this will prevent you from recording meetings/sessions if enabled. (Encryption).

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If this a computer just connect when using and unplug when not using.

@Bourne Unfortunately, both the microphone and the camera are built-in and not unpluggable.

Could you gived to us some type or model camera then we can searching if we can find some drivers?

@Bourne Unfortunately, I don't know how to find out the specific model. It's a Dell Inspirion 7400 but the specs page doesn't have many details.

But, um, what do we need drivers for? I mean both the cam and the mic do work already :thinking:.

Yes that is correct my missunderstanding. You asking about a privacy about a camera i am using isolation tape with microphone in operating system you can mute a microphone. That is my suggestion. Maybe some another hardware lenovo,msi,acer etc. have some solution how to disable full camera and microphone where you can trying that on your pc.

@carmar Well, I actually don't trust myself as I'm quite clumsy. I've accidentally un-muted myself from time to time without realising it, and things like that. I just want to really make sure nothing unexpected happens.

Like I said, one can set the microphone's "volume" (or rather sensivity?) to zero in Zorin's audio settings but I don't know whether that really works like a global microphone blocker. I haven't found any camera settings though.
This what i found nie blocked camera and microphone.

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I guess muting the volume of the microphone does act as a global microphone mute. You can also set a hotkey to mute in Settings>Keyboard Shortcuts under sound & media there is microphone mute/unmute.

For camera though there is no straight forward setting that I can find. On windows I had been using obs's virtual camera feature to stream a black a screen for my camera input. But on linux there seems to be no option for virtual camera in obs.

After some googling I came across this post. According to it sudo modprobe -r uvcvideo disables and sudo modprobe uvcvideo enables the camera. You could put that in a script file and run it whenever you want to disable/enable camera access. Or even you can add custom keyboard shortcuts for both in the settings app. Just make sure that in the command field you give pkexec instead of sudo for the commands.


Edit: It seems like I misunderstood the question a little. If you are looking for application-specific permissions like on android your best bet is to install those apps as flatpaks and you can configure their permissions in settings > Applications. I don't have any flatpaks that uses camera or mic so I can't test it now but if the app uses camera or microphone it probably will have a toggle for that.

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Yes he's asking about app (application) what could be on android device. On linux you could using some emulator software then you can there using app.

you could using some emulator software then you can there using app.

That would be an overkill in my opinion. I think flatpaks do have a decent permission system (eventhough my experience with it is very limited).

That's a good suggestion with the keyboard shortcuts, I'll try that out! Thank you!

Unfortunately, the programs I use for video conferences (Firefox, Ungoogled Chromium, Signal Desktop) are Flatpaks but all come with complete access to /dev, meaning I can't control cam + mic access for them.

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Then the easiest thing to do is to disable camera and microphone access globally while you are video conferencing. Hopefully that would be enough.

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