Earlier this week, Apple started getting some attention for the odd way in which it lets apps requesting access to your location data read photos stored on your iPhone. Reactions were mixed, with some users seeing the whole thing as blown out of proportion, and others concerned that Apple didn’t have their privacy interests at heart. In the smartphone platform wars, fair is fair, and now Google’s facing similar attention for its own lax security protecting your photos.
There’s nothing on Android stopping an app from viewing, copying, or transmitting your photos that requires special photo-specific permission to do so. Google, though, doesn’t see this particularly as a vulnerability, but how it engineered Android to work, inspired by the filesystem design and permissions used on Windows and Mac OS. That said, now that the issue is being brought up, Google says that it’s revisiting things, and considering adding permission settings that specifically control access to your locally-stored photos.
Part of Google’s decision to implement photo storage the way it did was in order to keep photos mobile, storing them on a phone’s microSD card so that they could easily be moved around en masse. With more phones relying on hard-wired storage these days, Google admits that it needs to rethink things, and possibly take new steps to keep your pics safe from prying eyes.