I imagine that, these days, if you asked someone if they would be more concerned if they lost their wallet or their phone, the vast majority would pick the latter. Our whole lives are on our phones, not to mention some things that we probably don't want other people to see. What's in your wallet, a credit card?
Luckily, I've never had a phone stolen (knock on wood) but I like the idea that, if it were to happen, there would be consequences.
Apple seems to be in the same mindset, as it has filed a patent that would be able to see who is trying to access your stolen phone, based on data that includes their fingerprints.
If the iPhone thinks that someone is trying to use it without permission, "A computing device may determine to capture biometric information in response to the occurrence of one or more trigger conditions," it says in the patent.
Such a trigger which could include "receipt of one or more instructions from one or more other computing devices, detection of potential unauthorized use by the computing device, normal operation of the computing device, and so on."
If the device is triggered, it "may obtain biometric information and may store such biometric information."
Biometric information can include fingerprints, images or video of the user, and audio. Basically, the phone will use its preexisting camera, microphone and Touch ID sensor to see who is trying to access the phone.
"The computing device may then provide the stored biometric information for identification of one or more unauthorized users."
While this all sounds pretty interesting, and potentially useful, it does come fraught with possible privacy implications, especially when it comes to what biometric information it could be collecting from normal users, and how long that information will be stored.
In most cases, it says in the patent, the device won't store the data "endlessly," and there is a good chance it will eventually be purged the phone.
There are, however, some instances where the device may store the biometric data it captures, such as if there are a certain number of unauthorized access attempts (such as fifty), biometric information captured over a certain period of time (such as three days), biometric information associated with all unauthorized access attempts over a certain period of time (such as one month)."
A feature like this, with the potential for Apple to capture more data from its users. would no doubt reinforce the views of people who expressed their apprehension over Touch ID when it was first introduced back in 2013.
It should go without saying that, if Apple ever does get around to building this, it has to not only make it opt-in, but fully explain how and where it is storing this data.
(Image source: gizmodo.com)