A bug has been revealed that inadvertently allows Android TV users to view the accounts of hundreds of other Google Photos users, enabling them to access their private images.
First discovered by Twitter user Prashanth (opens in new tab), the bug has since caused Google to completely disable the sharing of Google Photos via Android TV while the tech giant resolves the issue.
When I access my Vu Android TV through the @Google Home app, and check the linked accounts, it basically lists what I imagine is every single person who owns this television. This is shocking incompetence. pic.twitter.com/5DGwrArscoMarch 3, 2019
While this privacy concern was initially discovered with Prashanth’s Vu LED TV and seemingly only showed the Google accounts of users that also owned the same model of TV, another Twitter user (Aarjith Nandakumar (opens in new tab)) noticed the same issue occurring with his iFFalcon Android TV.
The other Google users appeared under “linked accounts”, showing both their name and profile picture, and allowed access to their photos (albeit at random) when choosing Google Photos as a source for the ambient screensaver.
Speaking with Android Police (opens in new tab), Google verified that “it was not an issue of Vu Television but it was a software malfunction of the Google Home App”, and continued to defend Vu’s commitment to privacy.
We don’t yet have a timeline of when the issue will be resolved, but considering Google has had to disable viewing, accessing or casting photos to all Android TV devices, we can assume the problem is being given some priority.