Dell Latitude laptops get huge privacy upgrade — hackers can no longer spy on you

Dell Latitude 9510 review
(Image credit: Future)

Dell's Latitude laptops are some of the best business laptops around, although its recent Latitude 9410 2-in-1's lacking webcam cover is a big disadvantage for those of us working from home who value privacy (as we all should). Well, Dell listened, and now the laptop company is introducing a nifty webcam feature to its new Latitude laptops.

Dell is debuting the first automatic webcam shutter on its latest Latitude business laptops. By automatic, we mean the shutter knows when to open or shut by syncing to any video conferencing app. I think this means we can finally throw away our sticky notes and Scotch tape.

Automatic privacy

Dell's SafeShutter comes installed on the 2-in-1 Latitude 9420 and 9520 laptops, and while its hardware-controlled circuit knows when to turn the camera on and off, Dell emphasized in its blog post that users have full control of the webcam, and can simply disable it with a press of a key.

By using the F4 and F9 keys, users can mute or unmute their mic and turn the camera on or off, respectively. The new feature is aimed at keeping malicious surveillance, hackers or any other sort of prying eyes at bay — a hugely important issue with the increased amount of people now working from home.

As an added (accidental) touch, you'll know when the camera is closed thanks to an engineer accidentally creating an audible "click" noise when the camera closes. A great mistake, there. Along with this, a "privacy LED light" will turn on when the camera is in use, along with more lights on the keyboard that indicate whether the webcam and mic are on or off.

Dell further explained how the SafeShutter could be incorporated into the laptop after they realized the Latitude's bezels were too small to install a proper mechanical shutter. That's when the hardware-controlled circuit came in, something we may see more of in laptops with thin bezels.

As for when the laptops are available, Dell's Latitude 9520 is available now with prices starting at $1,949 (£1,419), while the Latitude 9420 will be available this Spring. If you're on the hunt for a great laptop for work, check out the best business laptops to get today. 

Darragh Murphy

Darragh Murphy is fascinated by all things bizarre, which usually leads to assorted coverage varying from washing machines designed for AirPods to the mischievous world of cyberattacks. Whether it's connecting Scar from The Lion King to two-factor authentication or turning his love for gadgets into a fabricated rap battle from 8 Mile, he believes there’s always a quirky spin to be made. With a Master’s degree in Magazine Journalism from The University of Sheffield, along with short stints at Kerrang! and Exposed Magazine, Darragh started his career writing about the tech industry at Time Out Dubai and ShortList Dubai, covering everything from the latest iPhone models and Huawei laptops to massive Esports events in the Middle East. Now, he can be found proudly diving into gaming, gadgets, and letting readers know the joys of docking stations for Laptop Mag.