Is Facebook and other apps using your “smartphone” Camera without you knowing?

April 30 2018 – Kevin Yaworski

Here is a concerning observation of the Facebook App’s behavior and some tips about Apps and Permissions.

CBC Marketplace did this episode on how easy it is to create an app, get users to download and use it to access mic, camera, audio, video, photos, contacts, texts etc… Many cases of this being exploited. Some may say they have nothing to hide but evasion of privacy is a slippery slope.

I decided a while ago to disable the camera on my “smart” phone globally using an app rather than controlling with individual permissions. When I need to use the camera I enable it 1st.

Most of the apps I use except Facebook work fine until I try and use the Camera without enabling it 1st. Periodically Facebook will Crash with error that Camera not accessible even without trying to use the camera. Having the camera enable all the time and Facebook rarely crashes. Recently this behavior has intermittently gotten worse where it crashes and then will not start unless enabling camera 1st. It possible to disable again after app started and it stays running for some time. I am seeing this behavior with at least v170.0.0.52.95 on Android.

If you are an app developer or know where to enable logging it probably possible to debug to try and figure out why it trying to access the camera intermittently.

Similar can be done to control microphone globally but it is not practical since you need it for phone calls and call or voice / audio recording if you use that.

You can control using an app with exceptions or directly under system, permissions on at least Android.

Beware of any apps that want more permissions then they should need. Read the apps reviews and note how many users have downloaded it to learn if it works well for most and to help decide if or how trustworthy it is. Some apps let you restrict some permissions after installing via the app or system, permissions.

Apps like Bitdefender, Kaspersky Internet Security or similar reputable apps can scan when new apps installed for malware and review permissions etc …(free) or in realtime (paid).

Related:

Privacy and big data

The power of algorithms and big data as well as the dangers – Weapons of Math Destruction

Social Media and Internet Monopolies Manipulating the Masses

About Kevin Yaworski

I use my blog to write about things I find interesting or that I think are matter of public interest.
This entry was posted in Computers and Internet, News and politics and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Is Facebook and other apps using your “smartphone” Camera without you knowing?

  1. Pingback: Facebook hired a conservative lobbying firm with an ‘in-house fake news shop’ to combat PR crisis | Whats Up

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