Not a day goes by when you learn new things about privacy invasion by many online platforms. Copied address books, stolen conversations, and location tracking, people are furious about how the big tycoons are selling their data to advertisers.
All this debate about data privacy seems like going nowhere, so what’s new, the people want to know what happens when they allow apps access to the camera? Is it safe? Can apps steal photos? and many similar questions. Mobile users are afraid that their privacy is at risk, and with each passing day, it’s getting worse.
Smartphones serving as a gateway to a massive amount of personal information, where we are, who we talk to, what we like, our schedule, and whatnot. Containing all our valuable data, many companies and app developers can leverage this information.
Is It Safe To Allow Apps To Access Your Photos?
You must have wondered when downloading an app it often asks for different permission, Camera and gallery access are the commonly asked permission which may make one question why so? Does the camera or gallery access pose a threat? Do apps ask for camera access to surveil you? The answer most likely is no as it would be a dangerous and expensive exercise for apps that would provide little or no value.
Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android have robust data permission regimes in place asking user’s approval to access the camera, photos, contacts, call history, and more. Generally, there is nothing to worry about as these apps will only use the camera when you give them access.
However, when you are using to install apps from third-party websites in the form of an APK file. Make sure that they are providing safe apps to download. If you found such an app, make sure to delete that APK file from your phone right away.
Can Apps Steal Photos?
What happens when you give apps access to your photos or Gallery? A user gives access to read and write to the Gallery. The ability to post the photos somewhere else requires a different kind of permission.
Also, developers are aware of the consequences if they steal photos and post them elsewhere. It is also advised at the same time to give camera or gallery access to reliable apps, not the suspicious ones.
What happens When A User Gives Apps Access To The Camera?
A user must be aware of what he is getting himself into by allowing access to the camera and microphone. He has allowed the apps to do the following
- Access the front and back camera.
- When the app is in the foreground, it is allowed to record you at any time.
- Take and upload pictures without telling you.
- Real-time face recognition.
How Does System Permissions Work To Protect Privacy?
Android and Apple’s operating system requires user approval to get access. Depending on the feature and its effect, the system may grant permission to some while leaving the fate of others in the user’s hands. System permissions are classified into two groups
Normal Permission: The system automatically grants permission if it does not invade privacy.
Dangerous Permission: System will ask for your permission for contacts, location, gallery, camera, microphone, call log, and more. So, these are the main aspects of an Android device to use someone’s permissions. This will work simultaneously for any kind of app that you are going to use o your phone.
As per AVG, some malicious apps can secretly record a person, so, only give your approval to authentic apps with developer information.
How Can A User Protect His Privacy?
If a user has reservations, he can always revoke access. However, revoking access may cause the app to lose functionality. Some of the apps are there on your phone that can’t work without your permission. These are apps using your phone’s camera and gallery to complete any task. So this is the must to go with giving permissions. If you do not so, then the app is not going to work or it wasn’t compatible with that.
Go to app settings, check the status, see what it can access or not, revoke permission if you want.
Not the most practical solution but cover the camera with tape.
Putting it all together, stealing photos from a user’s mobile is illegal and it poses a threat to his privacy. With the exception of a few malicious apps, camera and gallery access would not do any harm. A user also has the option to revoke permission anytime.
If you give permissions on your phone apps to get access to your media. This depends on the app to which you gave the access. If the app is legitimate, then you have to don’t worry about this. Like the messenger’s camera will ask you for permissions while you going online or taking a picture using it. In this case do not need to think about it. As it is safe and it will never share your pictures or media with anyone else.