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Who Looks at My Cameraphone Shots

iOS 4 in the handLIKE A LOT OF PEOPLE, I tap and accept app prompts when asked by apps for permission to access my phone's photo album. Doing that may allow an app to copy and store my images on another server.

And if you believe Nick Bilton, after you permit some iOS apps to have access to location information, "the app can copy the user’s entire photo library, without any further notification or warning." This might concern some friends who carry around compromising cameraphone images. But Apple apps aren't the only apps pulling images off phones. I see this happening with Instant Upload when using Google Plus. For years I've stored photos in the cloud while connected to Nokia's Ovi service.

It might not be apparent to iPhone owners that when they give permission for an app to use location data, perhaps for mapping, that they are also approving “access to location information in photos and videos.” That "location information" is embedded inside the images themselves. To get the approved "location data", the images have to go to the application developers' servers where they're stored, opened, and analysed. For some iPhone owners, this can create a huge risk to privacy.

But that's one of the issues we have with phones that track our movements.

I shot the iPhone photo myself and uploaded the image with its EXIF location data inside to my Flickr photostream.

Nick Bilton -- "Apple Loophole Gives Developers Access to Photos" on the NYT Bits Blog, February 28, 2012.


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