Apple has patented a novel use for its Touch ID fingerprint scanning system. Filed in late spring of this year, the patent describes how the scan of one particular, designated finger could trigger a “panic mode”.
What does that mean? It could mean a number of things, but the essential premise is that the user would scan this particular “panic finger” in an emergency situation, triggering a set of responses on the part of the smartphone. That could mean setting the device to unlock while restricting the use of certain apps, triggering audio and/or video recording to identify a potential thief or assailant, sending automatic alerts to nearby iPhones, or even triggering an automatic call, perhaps to police.
The idea echoes similar mechanisms on some biometric access control systems, and offers a clever means of further leveraging biometric authentication for smartphone security. Of course, at the moment there are no known plans to actually integrate this system into an Apple device, but as Touch ID is increasingly used for access to sensitive data and to authenticate purchases through Apple Pay, such a mechanism could prove highly appealing to the security conscious if Apple does choose to deploy it, perhaps via a software update.
Source: Business Insider UK