Librem 5's Lockdown Mode shuts off every sensor on the phone

Purism's Librem 5 smartphone has been a big talking point among the tech geeks, thanks to its unusual but advanced privacy features.
Mar 12, 2019

Purism's Librem 5 smartphone has been a big talking point among the tech geeks, thanks to its unusual but advanced privacy features. The upcoming smartphone literally lets you kill some hardware when not in use. It features three hardware kill switches that can disconnect the mic, camera, cellular baseband, and Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

Purism, however, isn't content yet. The company wants to offer more privacy by shutting off stuff like GPS, proximity sensor, compass, and accelerometer. And since it cannot cover the device with kill switches all over the body, it has come up with a workaround. The company is introducing a new feature called Lockdown Mode, which essentially shuts down every sensor that could be used to track you. Now that's some privacy in a smartphone.

Librem 5 Lockdown Mode

The Lockdown Mode in Purism's upcoming Librem 5 smartphone will offer you more privacy than any smartphone does yet. The feature kills off the mic, camera, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, cellular wireless services, as well as GPS, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor, accelerometer, compass, and every other sensor. All you have to do is flip the three hardware kill switches together. Doing so will cut off the power to every sensor.

You will still be able to use the phone to run apps, view your calendar, or perform other basic mobile phone actions. However, you can't connect to internet, neither can you take pictures or track your location. You can exit Lockdown Mode by flipping any of the three switches back. Remember that the respective hardware for the remaining two kill switches will stay disconnected.

Purism is also offering some software tweaks for customized lockdown. If you want to, say, use camera but kill of other sensors, then you can do that in software.

The Librem 5 has one more selling point. The device will ship with free and open source GNU/Linux software, called PureOS, featuring as little proprietary code as possible. So, are you looking for a phone that offers software freedom and a hell lot of privacy? Purism's Librem 5 is tailor-made for you. You can pre-order the smartphone today for $649. Purism expects to begin shipping the pre-ordered units in third quarter of 2019.

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