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Instagram swears it’s absolutely, positively, no-way-Jose, watching the camera on your iPhone

Literally, WTF.

instagram logo on blurred background
Image: KnowTechie

One of the big privacy features coming in iOS 14 is a small dot on your display that lets you know if another app is accessing your microphone or camera. In the days since people have installed the iOS 14 beta, apps have been caught red-handed snooping on things they shouldn’t be, like LinkedIn, Reddit, and TikTok. We’ve noticed similar behavior from some big-name shipping company apps, but now there’s an even bigger name that’s been outed on social media – Instagram.

Yes, Instagram, home of the artfully-arranged plates of food and micro-influencers, has reportedly also been taking data from your camera while the app is open, even if the users hadn’t started taking a picture or video. Yikes. Or is that double-yikes, as Instagram’s parent company, Facebook, had to fix a similar issue last year when users noticed the camera activating in the background without permission.

For their part, Instagram told The Verge that “We only access your camera when you tell us to—for example, when you swipe from Feed to Camera. We found and are fixing a bug in iOS 14 Beta that mistakenly indicates that some people are using the camera when they aren’t.”

So, who to believe? Instagram saying that the privacy feature in iOS 14 is incorrectly activating the camera, or Apple, who is giving us more control over our own privacy on its devices?

Maybe they’re both right; I mean iOS 14 is still in beta, so this could be a bug on both sides of the equation. Then again, over 50 iOS apps have been found by security researchers for accessing the clipboard, so it’s clear that the issue is far more widespread than just the big names.

Have any thoughts on this? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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