Firefox Nightly has a useful WebRTC camera and microphone mute toggle - gHacks Tech News

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Firefox Nightly has a useful WebRTC camera and microphone mute toggle

The latest version of Firefox Nightly features a new interface that allows users to mute the microphone and camera on the device during WebRTC sessions.

The system is baked into the web browser and the interface is displayed automatically in the browser when WebRTC connections are discovered.

Tip: you can test your browser's controls when it comes to WebRTC on the WebRTC Test site. Firefox supports temporary and permanent permissions, other browsers may support only permanent permissions. If you want to find out if a site uses WebRTC, check out this guide.

Firefox Nightly displays the toggles in the top center of the browser window featuring microphone and/or camera mute buttons, and a minimize option.

firefox nightly webrtc mute

The browser displays only toggles if the feature is being used. The interface on the screenshot above shows a microphone toggle only because of the WebRTC audio capture test that was running on the site at the time.

A click or tap on the icon changes the state: a black icon means that the device is not muted, a red icon that it is muted and that no audio or video feed is captured by the service on the website.

Firefox Nightly users can drag and drop the interface around to another location, or use the minimize button to hide it from the interface for the time being.

Firefox Nightly continues to highlight that video or sound is captured in the browser's address bar even if the main interface is minimized.

firefox camera microphone indicator

The new feature will remain a Firefox Nightly feature, at least for the time being according to Mozilla.

Camera and microphone global mutes have landed, but are being held to Nightly.

Closing Words

The new WebRTC controls to mute the audio or camera feed on sites that use WebRTC is useful for users who use WebRTC services regularly. It is handy to quickly turn off the feed, e.g. when you get a phone call, need to leave the desk, or start a conversation with someone nearby.

Windows users may use software to get global muting controls. The most recent version of Microsoft PowerToys supports a global mute toggle for video and the microphone, and third-party programs like MicSwitch provide similar functionality (this one only for the microphone).

Now You: Do you use WebRTC?

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Firefox Nightly has a useful WebRTC camera and microphone mute toggle
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Firefox Nightly has a useful WebRTC camera and microphone mute toggle
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The latest version of Firefox Nightly features a new interface that allows users to mute the microphone and camera on the device during WebRTC sessions.
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Ghacks Technology News
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Comments

  1. PD said on September 21, 2020 at 7:42 am
    Reply

    Is WebRTC ‘safe’ or require less arguable invasion of privacy yet or does it still AFAIK rely on knowing user IP addresses?

    It seems like such a potentially handy open standards attempt to mimic Skype and the like. It’s a shame some privacy tools and guides suggest it should be disabled. There’s even and add-on to do just that.

    1. else said on September 21, 2020 at 12:44 pm
      Reply

      Nothing changed afaik, the risks remain. The link near the top still seems current: https://www.ghacks.net/2018/03/29/how-to-check-if-sites-use-webrtc/

      This article only indicates that camera or microphone toggles are displayed should a website attempt to use them, “[…]shows a microphone toggle only because of the WebRTC audio capture test[…]”. To see, users must adopt the untested alpha version of the browser. So non-news really.

      The well known privacy implications seem to remain deliberately unfixed. Oddly, no overall or network permissions prompt. Firefox mobile should be avoided especially if using a vpn, as webrtc cant be disabled there.

      Cant see a legimitate reason for leaving it active for general browsing then stickering icons when the few legit websites need cam or mic. Very sketch.

      1. Martin Brinkmann said on September 22, 2020 at 7:50 am
        Reply

        It would be interesting to know about WebRTC use on the Internet, especially a comparison of sites that use it for legitimate purposes and sites that use it for invasive stuff.

      2. else said on September 25, 2020 at 4:08 pm
        Reply

        Very, I reckon few will bother using it invasively, although the nytimes use was 5 years ago yet still unfixed so who knows. Its a permanent loophole sitting there now thanks to great logic-defying effort to keep it so.

        Many ways to protect: Activate network side if permissions granted to cam or mic | Prompt on the very rare occasions only network use is intended, but no, the flaw specifically must remain for reasons. One of those questions that need to be asked until resolved but always gets wontfix’d as ‘advocacy’ or ‘concern trolling’.

  2. ULBoom said on September 23, 2020 at 12:04 am
    Reply

    No. Disabled on all our devices. Has no affect on remote schoolwork, social media or anything else we do.

  3. Anonymous said on September 23, 2020 at 9:01 pm
    Reply

    /*** [Section 2000]: Media / Camera / Mic ***/
    2001: disable WebRTC (Web Real-Time Communication)
    * [Setup-Web] WebRTC can leak your IP address from behind your VPN, but if this is not
    * in your threat model, and you want Real-Time Communication, this is the pref for you
    media.peerconnection.enabled, false

    /*** [SECTION 2500]: HARDWARE FINGERPRINTING ***/
    /* 2505: disable media device enumeration
    media.peerconnection.enabled, false

    https://browserleaks.com/webrtc
    https://github.com/arkenfox/user.js/blob/master/user.js
    https://www.ghacks.net/overview-firefox-aboutconfig-security-privacy-preferences/

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