Chromebooks: Google wants to protect against screen snoopers via webcam

Google wants to give their notebooks, which are mainly used in the education sector, a new function with which users can protect themselves from unwanted “glances over their shoulders”. Google uses the device’s webcam for this.

As 9to5Google reported, more and more information about a so-called “Human Presence Sensor” (HPS) appeared in the Chromium code, so that it is now clear that Google wants to try to improve the security when using Chrome OS-based devices with the help of a function for Increase the detection of the presence of the user or other people in front of the device.

Snooping Detection recognizes curious looks from third parties

According to the latest information, the company will soon introduce a new flag in Chrome called “Snooping Detection”. This activates the human presence sensor in order to recognize whether someone other than the user is looking at the display of the respective Chromebook.

Apparently the webcam of the respective device is tapped in order to detect the presence of further “pairs of eyes” if necessary. The software tracks the number of people in front of the camera and thus enables appropriate reactions based on the respective settings of the user. The whole thing works completely locally, so that no data, not even the face of the user, can reach the cloud.

Google wants to offer several possibilities to use the “sniffer detection”. If desired, users can simply display a small icon that informs them that someone else is looking at the screen besides them. Alternatively, the function can also deactivate incoming notifications or reduce the display brightness in order to reduce readability for third parties.

It will take some time before Google makes the new feature standard on a large number of devices. The first Chromebooks equipped with it are expected next year, if Google sticks to the introduction of the new spicker protection.

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