Instagram accused of spying on users

iPhone users noticed that in iOS 14 beta, Instagram turned on the camera even when people were just scrolling through the feed. Company representatives say this is a bug that they will fix in the update.

According to Instagram’s management, the problem lies with the operating system, and the app doesn’t actually have access to the camera. The program turns on the indicator, but the camera itself can only be activated by the user. It is worth noting that this is not the first bug noticed in the new version of iOS: it was previously revealed that some applications, including TikTok, LinkedIn, and Reddit, can access the contents of the clipboard. Every time they access it, a notification pops up.

“We only access your camera when you allow us to — for example when you swipe from tape to camera. We have found and are fixing a bug in the iOS 14 beta that mistakenly indicates that some people use the camera when they don’t”, said an Instagram spokesman. “In such cases, we do not get access to your camera, no content is recorded”.

According to experts, you shouldn’t definitely trust Instagram’s statement. Previously, a similar situation happened with Facebook: the application also turned on the camera indicator without the user’s knowledge in the previous version of iOS. The management said that an error inside the operating system was to blame and they had already sent a statement to Apple asking them to solve it. “It’s very good that this bug monitors the scrolling of the feed so that it’s just a coincidence,” said Evgeny Lifshits, a member of the State Duma Council on Information Policy, Information Technology and Communications.

“The situation with iOS 14 is interesting in that it reveals the scale of the problem with unauthorized access of applications to data (we are talking about the clipboard),” Lifshitz told Rossiyskaya Gazeta. “It should be emphasized that this is not surveillance per se, but theoretically such access could be exploited by hackers who hacked into the application, by the developers themselves for the purpose of collecting data, or by the Chinese Communist Party for espionage (which is what the Pentagon insists in the case of TikTok)”.

The experts also point out that users need to remember that the new version of iOS is still in the testing stage and is intended for developers so that they can customize applications. However, they recommended checking all notifications coming from apps, carefully reading the permissions that are requested before downloading.