Qualcomm Technologies recently announced their newest high end smartphone processor the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. This processor has a very controversial feature it has always-on camera capabilities and will be used in high-end Android smartphones that will be released early 2022.
Qualcomm Vice president of product management Judd Heape said the following about the new always-on camera capabilities of the processor: ” Your phone’s front camera is always securely looking for your face, even if you don’t touch it or raise to wake it.”
Qualcomm touted the new always-on camera during their Snapdragon Tech Summit.
Judd Heap told TechRadar the following: “The always-on aspect is frankly going to scare some people, so we wanted to do this responsibly.”
He continued in telling TechRadar: “We took great care to make sure that no-one can grab that data and so someone can’t watch you through your phone.”
They announced that the always-on camera will enable users to wake and unlock their phones without picking up their phone. The processor can also lock your phone when you are no longer looking at it. It can even lock your phone when it detects somebody else is looking at it over your shoulder.
To recap the new features in the processor will enable your new phone to unlock when it recognizes you. Then lock again when you look away. It will also hide confidential information or notifications when it senses somebody else peeking or picking up your phone.
Creepiest capability of the new Snapdragon? A feature called "Always-On Camera."
Qualcomm says it's meant as an additional ambient sensor, letting your phone detect whether you (or someone else) is looking at the screen, so it can act accordingly.
Still kinda hate it. pic.twitter.com/8bN0Uev80R
— Michael Fisher (@Captain2Phones) December 1, 2021
Regarding privacy concerns Qualcomm tried to compare the always-on camera to always-on microphones that have been available in smartphones for quite a long time. The Hey Google, Alexa, and Hey Siri catch phrases people can pronounce and then their phone will respond without them even picking it up.
Judd Heape also reassured Android users that the: “Always-on camera data never leaves the secure sensing hub while it’s looking for faces.”
While that can still be up for debate, until more research can be done when these phones launch. The ability of recording 24/7 is still a privacy concern to many.
Qualcomm technologies also said that the facial recognition data isn’t sent to the cloud and other apps on your phone won’t ever be able to access it.