Android apps can access your photos – without asking!

by Klaus on March 4, 2012

in Android, iPhone, Tech News

In this recent week it was revealed that apps on iPhone and iPad can access user photos once the user has given the app permission to use location information.

Now it appears that the problem also exists on Android, where it’s probably even worse as the app doesn’t even need to ask for any kind of permission. The only thing the app requires is being able to communicate with the internet, which basically all apps does in one way or another – and certainly most users will not hesitate to say “yes” to allow that.

New York Times made a test application which would take the latest photo on your mobile and upload it to a public photo-sharing website. The user was only informed that the app required access to the internet – and that’s it, and it worked.

The biggest problem is that it’s easier to install “bad apps” on Android compared to iPhone, where Apple runs a tight ship with their App Store, having to approve every single app first, before it makes it onto the store. Google doesn’t check apps on Android Market (except if they suspect something is wrong, they may look into it and remove an app), and they don’t check any apps that’s installed from outside their Market.

Basically, be careful what you install on your smartphone – and extra careful if you’re an Android user, and extra extra careful if you install apps from outside Android Market.

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Comments & Leave a Comment

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Dan Keller March 5, 2012 at 00:00

For all the money Google is making you would think they would hire a couple people to check out the apps before allowing them to the app store.
Dan Keller recently posted… 5 Free Websites to Turn YouTube Videos into mp3′s

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Alan Smith March 5, 2012 at 06:46

This is very bad thing of the android users who don’t want to share their photos because it is totally wrong thing that android application don’t take permission to access your photos.

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Alex Braker March 5, 2012 at 10:49

Due to excessive amount of apps launch in android market and some of them are useful as well which are available free, now we have to read privacy and policy of the application and the data they would track and access through application. Most of the people used to ignore these things when the allow permission to any apps in their phone.

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James M. March 5, 2012 at 13:27

That certainly gave me pause for thought. Mine’s an iPhone but I certainly wouldn’t want all my pictures uploaded automatically. Isn’t there an option or checkbox where you can be asked for upload permission for every photo you take?
James M. recently posted… Portable Pen Scanner for My Kid

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Robert March 5, 2012 at 17:12

Unfortunately you have the same problem with mobile apps that run on Windows OS. Those apps can not only access your photos without asking, but also pretty much any other document on your phone. That’s why it is really important to make sure that an application doesn’t do anything unwanted before you install it.

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sonytabletsreview March 6, 2012 at 14:37

Why am I not surprised? Although there are a lot of good Android apps, there are those available on the Market that looks like they were coded by some high school student. I hope Google finds a way to filter these apps especially now that they find out some are a threat to user’s security.
sonytabletsreview recently posted… PS Vita vs. PSP

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Scott March 7, 2012 at 22:11

Pretty scary, but nothing new. Google/Facebook/Microsoft/Apple are all after information…not for malicious reasons, but for 1 reason: ad targetting.

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kate winslet March 14, 2012 at 10:35

I have also installed plenty of android apps on my phone but never care that much about on what data they can access from my phone. This kind of application might be tracking information on the kind of websites we used to check from our phone and might selling those data to marketing ventures when they collect large segment of data.

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Steve March 14, 2012 at 21:22

I think most of the major apps these days mine data….its a reality we have to live with. I chuckle a bit when people wonder why sensitive info gets out and posting questionable photos and info on social media sites. Pretend everything you do on your phone like it is out in the open for everyone to see! Keep the more secure stuff to a laptop or computer that is more secure. Who knows what these app makers are doing with your information.
Steve recently posted… Top 10 Email Marketing Services

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ActiveTouch March 15, 2012 at 13:05

The biggest problem is that it’s easier to install “bad apps” on Android compared to iPhone, where Apple runs a tight ship with their App Store, having to approve every single app first, before it makes it onto the store.

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Christa Joe March 19, 2012 at 11:36

iPhone always keens to keep only those apps that don’t hampers the Apple policy in anyway, whereas Google let anyone upload, any kind of app and that’s what makes Apple ore secure than Android
Christa Joe recently posted… How the iPad changed Business Operations

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B24 E Solutions March 20, 2012 at 09:32

It’s really very bad for Android Users. Android Apps do not only have access to photos, they also have access to any other file on the SD card without need of any permission. Like iPhone’s App Store, Android’s App Store should also don’t have permission to install Bad Apps.

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Sonia April 26, 2012 at 11:30

Yes one should always be careful to choose app for their android devices, as your privacy matters.
Sonia recently posted… 5 Useful Android Apps For Students

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sintu kumar May 19, 2012 at 20:16

hi admin
your article helps me lot know the problem in andriod mobile , do you have any video tutorial to upgrade the andriod version.

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Lata Das June 26, 2012 at 20:24

Actually it is because of the number game. Android app store is very loose because they should have to increase the total number of apps. Android apps are growing in number but less in quality.

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EdwinMiller August 9, 2012 at 11:45

Thanks for good advice. I think Google has made the android apps market open in order to attract more apps developer and thus increase android popularity. You rightly said precautions should be taken before installing any android apps. And it would be better if Google takes some validation standards on applications that especially are developed for android platform.

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