Future iPhones may encrypt display content if a stranger happens to glance at your screen
Apple has filed an application with the US Patent & Trademark Office today about a new technology which will be following a user’s gaze, its position on the display and therefore blurring or encrypting other contents on the screen in order to protect information from outside viewers. The patent is called “Gaze-dependent display encryption” and most likely is referring to future iPhones or iPads, however the application content also includes computers, as well as wearable devices such as smartwatches in the scope of the patent.
The technology is said to work via a sensor camera which will determine the gaze of the primary user of the device, along with whether the device’s owner is the one looking (via facial recognition) as well as analysing the user environment. If onlookers are present around the person and some of their gazes are detected to fall on the display, the information within a distance of their gaze location will be made indecipherable, while leaving the area where the user’s gaze is clear for viewing.
Additionally, the patent says that if the system determines that no one from the people around the user is gazing at the screen, the information may remain unencrypted. If encrypted, the technology will follow the user’s eyes as to decrypt the area where the user is currently looking, and all of that will be happening in between the refreshing of frames.
However, in order not to cause distraction and to attract the user’s eye to the encrypted area, the patent states that text scrabbling of letters will be used, or, if an image is displayed, something similar to it, but modified, will be displayed.
Whether content will be encrypted will also be decided based on the context (where the user currently is and what app is being used).
Although this information may seem exciting, one should take into consideration that Apple is submitting patents almost daily and some of them never see the light of day on an Apple device.