Is Your Flashlight App Spying On You?

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Is you flashlight app spying on you?

One of the handiest smartphone tools available has to be the flashlight app. Whether you’re using it to find a set of misplaced keys or just navigating a dark room we’ve all used the flashlight app at one point or another. Recently, a SnoopWall report analyzed 10 Android flashlight apps to determine what type of privacy risk they posed to users. Their findings were slightly unsettling.

According to SnoopWall, many of the more popular Android flashlight apps have free reign on your smartphone. In fact, many of them have permission to do just about anything included tracking your location and even deleting app files if they so choose. Clearly, the flashlight apps are doing more than just providing back-up lighting.

The report examined several areas and how the apps permissions impact various features and control. Although some permissions are fairly innocent like controlling phone vibration, others were more offensive such as purging contents of USB storage and taking videos and photos.

In response to its report SnoopWall has created it’s own flashlight tool called Privacy Flashlight. This alternative app is super lightweight and doesn’t gather user data either. If you’re not feeling up to using Privacy Flashlight you can follow some of SnoopWall’s recommended best practices to protect your privacy:

  • Disable GPS when you aren’t using it
  • Disable Bluetooth
  • Tape over your microphone and camera

We have no commercial relationships with any of the vendors discussed in this blog, and disclaim responsibility for them and their goods and services.

Photo Credit: redjar via CC

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Sarah Hartshorn is a marketing, public relations and social media professional with Vuze. She blogs about content, torrents, social media and a number of other tech topics. Sarah has been involved with traditional and digital marketing since 1998.