Instant Privacy Mode via Fingerprint

Most smartphones today come equipped with a fingerprint sensor, even on the low-end; it's a feature thats slowly becoming more standard. In an age of restricted privacies, these biometric security sensors can be a very useful tool to consumers and enterprise users alike.

Despite popularization by Apple's Touch ID introduced with the iPhone 5S in 2013, fingerprint sensors first made a commercial appearance in 2007 with the launch of the Toshiba G500 and G900. With Android Marshmallow's launch in 2015, it enabled smartphone and tablet manufacturers to mass produce the technology - like Samsung's S5. Of course, there's different forms of these sensors, but you're most likely using a Capacitive Sensor; where instead of capturing a traditional image of a fingerprint, capacitive fingerprint sensors use arrays tiny capacitor circuits to collect various data about a particular finger.

In the future, you'll see more ultrasonic style sensors; which use a sending and receiving sensor that can detect mechanical stress to calculate the intensity of the returning ultrasonic pulse at different points on the scanner.

The KEYone took a unique and new approach to integrating a fingerprint sensor; fitting it almost unnoticed within the space key. Which had me thinking about the possibilites that BlackBerry could take advantage of, to not only further the line of innovation - but expand on their most secure Android phone branding.

Most US folks aren't aware that while you can't be forced to provide your digited passcode for an electronic device, your fingerprints are not protected by the fifth amendment of the U.S. Constitution. In Canada, the Supreme Court ruled in 2014 that Police can conduct warantless searches of your mobile devices during an arrest - and password bypassing is left to the on-spot capabilites of the officers involved. While BlackBerryCentral.com does not condone any criminal activity, we do encourage taking advantage and exercising of your right to privacy. Overall this means that in North America, police can obtain your fingerprint without legal warrant and conduct searches regardless of your consent.

We live in a world where privacy is increasingly becoming a privilege rather than an individual right.

The worry for folks isn't all in Law Enforcement encounters, but also in cases where a fingerprint from a hostage or abductee can be easily manipulated compared to a traditional alphanumeric password or PIN code. In reality, almost all current mobile security offerings having some form of flaw or bypass.

The concept I'll present is called Secure Lockdown via Fingerprint or Instant Privacy Mode - which as the name should imply, is a feature that secures your device via fingerprint in addition to unlocking procedures. It sounds weird, but simply put, your index finger could serve to unlock your device and your thumb could be used as an alternative Lockdown finger. Previous concepts I researched had lockdown buttons, or software features that a user had to navigate to; however this idea is no more noticable than simply unlocking your device as usual.

Setting up this software would be easy for the end-user. Alongside where they'd find the normal Fingerprint Settings, the Lockdown feature can be setup at the same time. Settings for the feature could extend into what's shown and what's hidden when in Lockdown. The user will select a Lockdown finger; which most people will likely automatically choose a lesser-used finger (such as the pinky, ring finger). My personal preference would be to use my right or left thumb, giving the feature the best opportunity to go unnoticed.

When you unlock the device into its Lockdown mode, your preselected settings can be seen in effect. Your device now appears to have reduced content, or as if it's a newly setup device. This can keep your integral personal and business information away from whomever you see fit, all while looking inconspicuous.

When the user wants to disable the feature, the just have to hold their Lockdown finger on the sensor for 5 seconds at the homescreen. This ensures you have control over when the feature is disabled. A tamper-proof for the device in this mode is where the phone is automatically booted into Lockdown on device startup -- that way you aren't subject to the feature being disabled before you're ready.

What do you make of this idea? Could you see yourself using this?