An Android TV issue with the Photos feature has led to its being disabled temporarily according to reports.
The problems arises from the “linked accounts” feature which shows a bunch of random linked accounts in a users profile. While these accounts and their photos weren’t visible to other users, their profile names and photos were.
Of course, this started some people complaining about privacy concerns and even speculation that the flaw could be a backdoor into the private photo albums of Android TV users.
Interestingly, the linked accounts weren’t just a few people but rather hundreds of complete strangers were added.
First reported by Android Police, we got our news from DPReview which writes: “As part of the Ambient Mode feature, Google makes (made) it possible to enable displaying images from other Google Photos users by linking their accounts. This feature was intended to be used with other known users — friends and family, for example — but this surprise bug had apparently linked hundreds of unknown accounts.”
Impacting mainly older Android TV units, Android Police speculates that it has something to do with security updates introduced that older units might not have.
Not to fear: The feature will be back in the future while the team at Google figures out what is going on with it.
And, again, to emphasize: There aren’t any reports of people accessing strangers’ photo albums.
But the story does serve as a cautionary tale about what to make available when and where.
Some of us don’t trust cloud-based photo sharing tech like Android TV or Apple TV as a matter of course, let alone uploading anything personal or private to such a device.
That said, many people do which is why security is of top importance for tech firms that handle private data.