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Upon quit request (a clickable button in your kiosk screen, mouse move, or particular key combination...?), you could just throw up a dialog with a field to input the password. If it matches, quit. User is already "logged in".
I've used tools to convert regular flash SWFs to actual screensavers... no need for AIR in that case, and you get all the system functionality of an actual screensaver (login upon quit, as you describe).
Yeah, I'm worried about someone Ctrl-alt-Deleting out of the app. If I turned the app into a SWF, would it still do the dynamic reloading? Basically my app consumes a couple of RSS feeds and reloads some web pages and images from the web on a constant basis and that still needs to work. I wasn't sure if all that would still work in a SWF since I've only ever done things from the Flex/AIR standpoint.
The SWF > screensaver tool I used was called "bitbull". That was years ago. It turned the SWF into an actual screensaver, so yeah, you'd get any screensaver timing/re-login functionality included with any screensaver. I think I did a dynamic HTTP load, too... but if you're needing wholesale HTML markup in the presentation, then an SWF without AIR won't do that.