For an app to see or use your photos, it must first ask for permission to access them. Some apps will ask for this permission when you first download it, while others will wait until a time comes when it needs to access your photos to perform a certain function. Regardless of when it asks for permission, once you grant the app permission to access your pictures, it can do many things with your photos that you may be unaware of, some of which could equate to stealing.
Questions answered in this article include the following:
Once I give permission, what can an app do with my photos?
When you give an app permission to access your photos, it can potentially use them for many purpose:
- For marketing such as sharing them in social media or displaying them in advertisements.
- To train algorithms and artificial intelligence.
- To collect data shown in the photos and use that data for analytics.
- Adding filters to the photos, using them in collages, and altering them in other ways.
- Using the photos to generate targeted ads.
- Map apps may use your photos to add to points of interest on a map.
- Search apps can use your photos to recognize objects or people within the photo to provide more “relevant” search results.
- Uploading and storing the photos in their database.
- Selling the photos to third-party companies.
Can giving an app permission to access my photos lead to identity theft?
In general, giving an app permission to access photos does not lead to identity theft, but many people have photos on their devices with personally identifiable information (PII) including driver’s licenses and Social Security cards. Granting an app permission to access photos increases the chances that this type of personal information could fall into the wrong hands.
Sometimes, app users may also have photos that may contain names, addresses, and email information. This information could be used to target a user with phishing attacks or other malicious activities.
Can I decide which photos an app has access to?
Can I revoke permission to access photos from an app once it’s given?
A user can revoke permission to access photos once that permission is given through the settings on their device. To revoke permission, a user must go to their device’s settings and find the app in question. Depending on the device, the option may be called “Privacy”, “Permissions”, or “App Settings”. In this section, the user should be able to find a list of permissions that the app is allowed to access. They then need to locate the permission related to accessing photos and switch it to “off”. This will revoke the app’s permission to access their photos.
Do you have any technology-related or app development questions? We would like to be your source for answers. Feel free to contact us, use the direct message option on our website, or post a question to the Matraex Business Profile Page. We look forward to hearing from you and answering your questions.
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That depends, did you give the app access to them?
Apps Seeing and Stealing Your Photos
When you first download an app or go to import any kind of photo into the app, by default you will be asked if you want to give the app access to your photos.
By selecting “all photos” you will give the app access to all of your photos.
By selecting “select Images or photos” you will be able to choose specific images that you want to share with the app.
If someone can see your images what stops them from downloading them? Hackers are able to access information without even knowing seeing what information is available. Compare that with anyone that can see your photo via the server that you allow your photos to be uploaded to most assuredly can download them.
How Do I Protect My Photos From Apps?
If you have given any application access to your photos whether it be web or mobile you have already provided the opportunity for them to be published to the internet. That’s not to say that just because you gave an app access that they have done so, there certainly are honest developers out there. Again, the opportunity for them to be published is there if the application has access.
In order to best protect your photos be careful about which applications you give access to them. You’d only give the keys to your house to the people that you want to visit. Don’t just give your access to your photos away freely. There’s a lot of data that can be gathered from photos, personal things that you probably wouldn’t tell a stranger.
Ever taken a photo of your Drivers License to send someone? Your social security card? Taken pictures at your favorite restaurant? Do you take cute videos of your kids? Did you take a picture of your house when you first moved in? Or how about yourself at the hospital that you go to?
All this is information that you give up freely to complete strangers when giving access to “all photos”. Be careful about who you give access to. You don’t know what kind of person is sitting on the other end of that device.
Don’t want your pictures seen or stolen? Don’t give the access.