Google will limit third-party camera app access in the upcoming Android 11 to protect user privacy it is being reported.
What was initially thought to be a bug is now being confirmed by Google as a permanent shift in the way Android handles the camera functionality. The bug was identified by third-party app developers that noticed that the Google Camera app was being preferenced when the app doesn’t have a baked-in camera app.
In other words, this won’t impact things like Snapchat and Instagram that have a camera as part of the app’s software, but third-party app’s that rely upon another camera app to function will now only have Google’s app as a choice.
As The Verge explains, “That’s an important distinction because it means those apps can’t phone home with your location. Google has updated its guidance to developers to explain what this is really all about: the company is worried about apps that might ask for photos so they can quietly track your location. When you take a photo, it’s sometimes geotagged with the GPS coordinates where you took that picture, and a non-camera app could steal that by piggybacking on a camera app, even if you’d never granted the original app that location permission.”
One popular case highlighted by The Verge is the 2019 story about Shutterfly which was accused of taking user GPS information and EXIF metadata. As the website points out, other unscrupulous practices are also used to get around Android’s complex permissions architecture but those involving the camera tend to be some of the more common.
What do you think of Android 11’s move to limit the access of photography apps to protect user privacy? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
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