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Android 12: If your phone shows a camera or microphone icon someone may be spying on you

The Independent
The Independent
 2021-12-03

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Google ’s latest operating system, Android 12, has a key feature to make sure that malicious individuals are not accessing user’s camera and microphone.

The whole OS update has a whole host of privacy tools such as a locked folder in Google Photos, a quick delete feature to clear Google Chrome browsing histories, and a ‘privacy dashboard’.

One of the new additions is an indicator at the top of the phone, in the top right corner of the screen, that brings up a camera or microphone icon if an app has asked to access that hardware.

This update means that hackers or hazardous apps would no longer be able to silently access such personal data – something that users have been worried about in the past.

In July 2020, an Instagram bug activated the ‘camera on’ notification on iPhones when users were not taking photos as well as when they were , leading people to think the app was spying on them.

As well as the icon, Android 12 now tracks when and which apps have accessed sensitive information. This includes the camera and the microphone, but also location, calendar, call logs, contacts, files, and more.

Users can find this in the privacy dashboard in the Settings app, which shows a list, and a pie chart of which piece of personal hardware or software is asked for the most.

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There are also dedicated buttons in the quick settings bar – found by pulling down from the top of the phone – that can completely turn off the microphone and camera for the whole phone.

When opening an app that does require those permissions, when making a call or using the native camera app, Android will notify the user that the restriction is place with a button to undo it.

Android 12 is currently available on Google’s Pixel devices, Samsung’s S21 and Note range, and Oppo and OnePlus’s flagships.

Comments / 28

Wabi Sabi
12-03

You have a cell phone, computer, ipad, store cards, credit cards , go on any media sites, guess what all privacy is gone. Get over it. That horse bolted with technology, we are all part of a global world like it or not.

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19
FU BAR
12-03

This is actually a feature they copied from the Apple iPhone. I noticed the orange dot on the my screen and after a short Google search I discovered that it was means that the app you are currently running may have access to your camera and/or microphone. I was like, hell that makes sense because of was on a phone call when I noticed the icon.

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Sabrina Nelson
12-03

bottom line there's no such thing as privacy anymore the government/ tech company has made sure of that.......

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16

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