We’re just a couple of months away from our first look at Android P, very likely coming at this year’s Google I/O. There are a few things we know about the upcoming release, and now, we’re learning of a new security feature that blocks camera access.
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The cameras on our devices could provide a lot of information if they were running all the time, but thankfully they don’t. However, that hasn’t stopped many users from being slightly paranoid about that possibility.
In Android P, Google is effectively taking that concern out of the picture completely. According to a source code commit spotted by XDA-Developers, the company is working on a new feature that blocks access to the camera to any application that is not actively being used.
Update: XDA also found that Google is working to block access to the microphone when the app is idle.
This new rule-set keeps an eye on the UID of applications and blocks them from accessing the camera in any way whenever that UID is “idle,” aka running in the background.
For users, this is a very notable change. Until now, Android hasn’t done much to block this sort of thing, and developers have found ways to covertly record video or take pictures without the user knowing at all. The microphone aspect of this is arguably more important, as we’ve seen in action that users have had their mics tapped by apps not running in the foreground. For privacy’s sake, this is a great change to see.