Meta says Android bug caused WhatsApp privacy breach | Tech News

Meta says Android bug caused WhatsApp privacy breach

A Meta spokesperson has responded to the claims WhatsApp breached users’ privacy by accessing a user’s microphone.

| Updated on: May 12 2023, 13:52 IST
In Pics: Send the best quality WhatsApp photos on iPhone, Android now; Know how
1/5 Why does WhatsApp compress pictures while sharing it? This happens because in the Settings of the application the photo upload quality is set on auto by default, and therefore, the quality of the image while sharing depends on several factors like the internet connection, size of the image, and more. The app therefore, looks to downsize the image, which affects its quality. (PTI)
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2/5 How to send the best quality photo on WhatsApp: Open WhatsApp on your iPhone or Android device and click on the three dots to go to WhatsApp Settings. From Settings you will have to select Storage and Data. After that you will have to tap on the Photo upload quality and select the Best Quality option and then click on Ok. (REUTERS)
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3/5 Meanwhile, you can also check the steps to send photos and videos on WhatsApp here: Go to WhatsApp and open an individual or group chat where you want to send the photo or video. Click on the Attach icon, then follow the steps mentioned below: (PTI)
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4/5 On an Android device, click on the gallery to select an existing photo or video from your phone. Tap and hold to select multiple images. You can also add captions to photos and videos. Swipe between photos to add captions to each one and finally click on the send icon. (REUTERS)
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5/5 While iPhone users will have to click on the plus icon and then select Photo and Video Library to select a photo or video from your iPhone's photos or albums. After selecting a photo or video, tap Add at the bottom left to select multiple photos or videos at once. (Pixabay)
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A bug caused WhatsApp to access a user’s microphone without permission. (Unsplash)

Days after an alleged WhatsApp privacy breach put the privacy of billions of WhatsApp users around the world at risk, Meta has now issued a statement in response to the issue. The incident that sparked global outrage occurred when a Twitter engineer on WhatsApp revealed that the microphone on his Google Pixel 7 Pro smartphone was live and tracking him. It drew reactions from current Twitter Chief Elon Musk and India's Union Minister of State for Electronics and Technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar.

Now, a spokesperson for Meta India has come out and responded to the claims that the privacy of WhatsApp users was breached.

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Google issues statement

Twitter Engineer Foad Dabiri shared screenshots on Twitter, claiming that WhatsApp had accessed the microphone on his Pixel 7 Pro several times while he was asleep. Union Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) Rajeev Chandrasekhar commented on his tweet, “This is an unacceptable breach and violation of privacy. We will be examining this immediately and will act on any violation of privacy even as new Digital Personal Data protection bill is being readied”.

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Now, Shivnath Thukral, the director of public policy at Meta India has responded to Chandrasekhar's tweet, “We believe this is a bug on Android, Google has said they are looking into it. Your calls and voice notes are protected by end-to-end encryption so we cannot hear the microphone in any case. We're aligned on safeguarding privacy”, Thukral explained in his tweet.

Despite a statement being issued by the Meta spokesperson about Google investigating the issue, there has been no resolution yet at the time of writing.

Why did this issue occur?

According to WhatsApp, the information in the user's Privacy Dashboard is being misattributed due to a bug. However, WhatsApp announced that it had promptly taken action by reporting the issue to Google and requesting an investigation to remediate the problem. Now, Google has announced that it is currently working on the issue.

Since Android 12, users can know if and when an app is using the smartphone's microphone and camera, using privacy features like Privacy Dashboard and Privacy Indicator.

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First Published Date: 12 May, 13:50 IST