We reported a few days ago that Apple’s iOS devices leak your private photos to third-party apps. Now, its seems that your photos are not safe, even with Android. It seems third-party apps on Android smartphones too can access your photos without taking your permission.
The situation though is a bit different with Android devices compared to iOS. See, iOS devices have a photo directory, which gets leaked to third-party apps, while in Android devices; it is just a sub-file of the main file system. What this means is that Android is weaker than iOS in this regard. In fact, it can let pretty much let any app access your private content. See, Android was originally designed to let you access your photos from your memory card, but soon after the inbuilt memory available to Android phones started increasing giving users a chance to place content in the phone and apps to access that content.
Google has responded on this flaw. What they said goes like this:
“We originally designed the Android photos file system similar to those of other computing platforms like Windows and Mac OS. At the time, images were stored on a SD card, making it easy for someone to remove the SD card from a phone and put it in a computer to view or transfer those images.
As phones and tablets have evolved to rely more on built-in, non-removable memory, we’re taking another look at this and considering adding a permission for apps to access images. We’ve always had policies in place to remove any apps on Android Market that improperly access your data.”
As you can see, Google is thinking about increasing permissions for apps to access content, which is a step in the right direction. We just hope it implements this soon, since privacy of all Android users is at stake.