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Disabling fingerprint sensor drivers or libraries?

asked 2018-06-15 09:25:23 +0300

SymbianRefugee gravatar image

The main reason I bought Sailfish was for better privacy, having my fingerprint available to anyone who cares to grab it is not my idea of privacy., especially with what is starting to come out about Facebook, Twitter, and Google will be the worst I am sure.

As such I'd like to upgrade to the latest OS but I would like to remove the libraries and drivers that the fingerprint scanner uses so that it is inoperable by myself or any apps (native or more likely Android).

Any help on how to go about this would be appreciated.


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Please see this answer in my previous thread on this:

Based on that answer,I don't think you have to be very worried. But I still won't be using the scanner (how long does it take to enter the lock code, and how lazy do you have to be to think it takes too long?), and I would also like to know if the function can be removed completely.

bocephus ( 2018-06-15 09:53:56 +0300 )edit

According to this answer "Leverage already existing Android fingerprint HAL via libhybris"

SO would removing HAL break anything besides Fingerprinting? I only use android for HERE Maps and browsers.

SymbianRefugee ( 2018-06-22 01:05:16 +0300 )edit

Removing HAL will certainly break your device :)

Thing like display, touchscreen, modem, sound, gps... they all use part of the HAL to do something useful.

juiceme ( 2018-06-29 12:27:27 +0300 )edit

why not just burn your fingerprints?

virgi26 ( 2018-07-01 11:18:01 +0300 )edit

Love the idea!

juiceme ( 2018-07-02 06:53:09 +0300 )edit

3 Answers

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answered 2018-06-29 12:02:47 +0300

spiiroin gravatar image

As usual, before making changes to system services: Be mentally prepared for using rescue mode / reflashing the device / losing all your data - be it immediately after changes / at the next reboot / system upgrade...

Completely removing sailfish fingerprint packages involves switching to non-fingerprint-aware devicelock plugin alternative - which might cause problems during later upgrades etc.

Merely Disabling fingerprint acquisition should be less risky - run as root:

# backup everything important, you have been warned

# stop and deny starting of sailfish side sw
# = enough to keep sfos off your fp scanner
systemctl stop sailfish-fpd.service
systemctl mask sailfish-fpd.service

# remove possibly existing fingerprint data
/usr/lib/sailfish-fpd/fpslave --remove-all
/usr/lib/sailfish-fpd/fpslave --flush-cache

# remove android hal fingerprint plugins
# = no "normal" (API using) application can access the fp scanner
rm /system/lib/hw/ /system/lib64/hw/

Undoing the above and getting back to default setup:

# if you removed the hal plugins, reinstall the package containing them
pkcon refresh
pkcon install zypper
zypper ref
zypper install -f droid-system-f512x

# undo service disabling
systemctl unmask sailfish-fpd.service
systemctl start sailfish-fpd.service
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I'll update my phone tomorrow and get back with the results. Thankyou very much.

SymbianRefugee ( 2018-06-30 15:44:57 +0300 )edit

Took me a while to update due to lack of space then lack of care.

Now on SailfishX these are the results: Failed to stop sailfish-fpd.service: interactive authentication required. (same error with the mask command) Removing and flushing the directories - No such file or directory.

rm /system/lib.... etc: cannot remove '': permission denied.

This was after logging in devel-su

Though I have not enabled the fingerprint scanner anywhere nor used it at all these instructions do not seem to work under sailfish 3.0


SymbianRefugee ( 2019-01-11 01:30:58 +0300 )edit

answered 2018-06-30 12:06:23 +0300

Spark gravatar image

updated 2018-06-30 12:08:38 +0300

Might be a funny idea, but what about a hardware solution:

The fingerprint sensor in the X has detection issues with wet and too cold or too warm fingers so I assume it is a capacitive sensor (but this should also work with an optical sensor). If you take a piece of sticky foil placing it over the sensor, it should be unable to detect anything besides the on/off press.

Off-topic: I am also waiting a lot for phones with hardware switches for cameras and microphone!

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lol, a tinfoil hat for my phone? But yes, that seems reasonable. I'll try the code above first and get back on here.

SymbianRefugee ( 2018-06-30 15:44:33 +0300 )edit

answered 2018-07-01 01:25:19 +0300

ExPLIT gravatar image

updated 2018-07-01 01:26:47 +0300

But why simply dont't use a password or PIN instead of fingerprint? You are not forced to use fingerprint. You can use your password. I think, if a hardware has this function - the Operating System should be able to use it. But you as you can decide, use it or not.

Why the hell you want brake a half of the system, just to disable this possibility? And with next software update you need to brake the system again.

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Google already collects and aggregates too much data illegally on everyone online - I do not want them to have my fingerprints too. The police can have them in a legal manner but not untrustworthy media companies.

Not conspiracy, go do a search (except on

SymbianRefugee ( 2018-07-01 02:08:18 +0300 )edit

@SymbianRefugee but Jolla isn't Google.

Fuzzillogic ( 2018-07-01 03:02:46 +0300 )edit

No but it's using google software to run it. Regardless of to whom giving out biometric data is a minefield of issues waiting to happen.

Also to note Nokia was a part of DARPA's Lifelog that was closed down (due yo invasive privacy concerns) and then spun off as the commercial entity Facebook. (look at the old Nokia Life Blog).

Seriously no one can be trusted with private data, esp since every Intel chip is compromised in every machine worldwide - servers included.

Not conspiracy, it's all fact, search for any of this for confirmation.

SymbianRefugee ( 2018-07-01 07:31:29 +0300 )edit

Forgive me but for a member of an IT team the answer indeed sounds astonishingly naive. To activate the display you still need to touch the button. Maybe Jolla's software implementation gives good privacy for the scanned fingerprints. But the hardware is there to possibly scan every fingerprint secretly and the user is forced to use it just to activate the display. From this point of view the concern is valid. Best way to secure data is to avoid it.

Spark ( 2018-07-01 13:29:14 +0300 )edit

Jolla doesn't use Google Software at All. Jolla using an AOSP Base which has nothing to do with google.

ExPLIT ( 2018-07-03 02:31:54 +0300 )edit
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Asked: 2018-06-15 09:25:23 +0300

Seen: 624 times

Last updated: Jul 01 '18