For many consumers, screen privacy is likely of little concern as devices are used primarily inside of the home or maybe the local coffee shop. However, for millions of enterprise and EDU devices, thwarting prying eyes from sensitive on-screen data can be of the utmost importance. Whether it’s privacy in a room full of testing students or the protection of company information, privacy screens can provide an important, albeit an analog form of PC security.
For years, buying a simplistic piece of darkened plastic was the go-to for users wanting to minimize screen visibility from off angles but in recent years, OEMs have begun to integrate a software/hardware solution that can create the same effect without the gaudy screen shield. Debuting as HP’s Sure View technology back in 2016, integrated privacy screens are becoming more common in business-focused devices and now, it looks like Chromebooks will be adopting the feature. For HP, the feature works by using a light-reducing film that prevents the display from being visible at off angles. Other methods actually utilize the display’s backlight to create the same effect.
Originally discovered by Chrome Story, it appears that an integrated privacy screen feature will be added to Chrome OS and the feature will be activated via OEM-specified hotkeys.
Some upcoming Chromebooks will have an electronic privacy screen which can be toggled on or off via a hotkey. When this key is pressed linux will emit a KEY_PRIVACY_SCREEN_TOGGLE keycode 0x279.Chromium Commit
The addition of the code is less than a month old but 9to5Google has already uncovered one upcoming Comet Lake device that will utilize the privacy feature. Discover in late summer of 2019, the Chromebook we know as ‘Drallion’ has yet to make it to market and now it looks as if it will feature the integrated privacy screen.
drallion: Correct F12 media key
On Drallion the F12 media key is for privacy screen toggle not display toggle. Change the media key mapping accordingly so that ePSA can be entered using just the F12 key not fn+F12.Chromium Commit
Being that this feature will be geared mostly towards the enterprise sector, my gut tells me that the OEM behind ‘Drallion’ is either HP or Dell. ‘Drallion’ if being manufactured by Compal which happens to make devices for both of the companies. However, a closer look at ‘Drallion’ leads me to believe that it will, in fact, be a Dell device. Upon its initial addition to the Chromium Repository, ‘Drallion’ was cloned, in part, from the devices codenamed ‘Sarien’ and ‘Arcada’. These two devices just happen to be the Dell Enterprise Chromebooks 5300 and 5400. This is enough evidence for me to say that ‘Drallion’ will come from the folks over at Dell and thanks to this update, we know it will have a new feature never before seen in a Chromebook.