Android P will prevent apps that use the camera without telling you about it

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  • A recently spotted commit revealed that Android P will deny camera access to background apps.
  • When an app’s UID is idle, an error will be generated to prevent access to the camera.
  • The feature is a boon for the privacy minded, though it could prevent anti-theft apps from working as advertised.

According to a source code commit spotted by XDA Developers, Android P will detect and prevent background applications from accessing the camera. As much as the feature is a boon for privacy-oriented users, it could be a double-edged sword.

The restriction is based on an app’s User ID (UID), which Android assigns to each app that gets installed on your device. UIDs are unique to each app and do not change, so long as the apps remain on your device.

The commit states that Android P will detect when a UID is “idle,” or when an app sits in the background after a certain amount of time. Android P will then generate an error to prevent access to the camera. If an inactive UID requests camera access, the software will immediately generate an error so long as the UID remains in the background.

Android’s Doze feature restricts background apps’ access to CPU and network-intensive services. Also, Android Oreo require apps to display a notification when they actively use the camera. As such, Android P’s camera restriction is more of an extension to existing measures.

The feature is a nice deterrent against malicious apps that silently record videos or take pictures without your knowledge. This is also nice for those who feel a bit iffy about the front camera.

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Even so, there are anti-theft apps that, upon request, covertly use the front camera to take pictures of a thief or the surrounding area. The feature would render those apps useless, unless Google somehow makes an exception for them.

This is not the first Android P feature we have heard about. Anonymous sources leaked that designers behind Android P are designing Android to work with a notch similar to the one on the iPhone X. They also leaked that Google Assistant will be a more integral part of the user interface.

via Android Authority

February 20, 2018 at 11:08AM