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Android TV photo sharing disabled as Google examines privacy issue

By Cal Jeffrey
Mar 5, 2019
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  1. On Saturday evening, users began reporting on Twitter that they could access other people's accounts trough their Android TV's photo screensaver. While this was the first time the bug was mentioned publicly, at least one TCL customer indicated that the issue has been going on for her since about the middle of January.

    Twitter user Prashanth said he first noticed the bug when he was trying to access his Vu brand TV through the Google Home app. When he looked under linked accounts for his TV, it showed him the names and profile pictures of hundreds of other users.

    Later Prashanth claimed that by selecting an account other than his in the ambient screensaver mode, he was able to see pictures presumably posted under that person’s Google Photos account.

    At least one other person confirmed that they replicated the bug on their iFFalcon smart TV. Prashanth then tried it on a Xiaomi Mi Box 3, but could not repeat the flaw, so it does not appear all brands that support Android TV are affected.

    Reports seem to have originated in India, but it is unknown if this is a regional issue.

    In the meantime, Google has turned off the ability to view Google Photos through Android TV while it looks into the problem.

    “We take our users’ privacy extremely seriously,” a Google spokesperson told Android Police in a statement. “While we investigate this bug, we have disabled the ability to remotely cast via the Google Assistant or view photos from Google Photos on Android TV devices.”

    A representative from Vu Technologies said that the problem was unrelated to its television’s firmware, insisting it was a “malfunction” with the Google Home app.

    Google, of course, is aware of the bug and will presumably issue a patch after it figures out what is causing the issue.

    Permalink to story.

     

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