Google shuts down photo sharing via Android TV due to privacy concerns

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Image Credit: Google
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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.

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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.

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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.

Harry is an Australian Journalist for TechRadar with an ear to the ground for future tech, and the other in front of a vintage amplifier. He likes stories told in charming ways, and content consumed through massive screens. He also likes to get his hands dirty with the ethics of the tech.