Most TVs these days come with a screensaver feature that by default, usually displays some kind of scenery designed to show off how vivid the TV looks. Usually, these screensavers can be customized, such as in the case with Android TV where users can link their Google Photos to their devices and use those photos as screensavers.
Unfortunately for Android TV users, those photos that you assumed were private might not have been so private after all. A user on Twitter by the name of Prashanth discovered that through the Google Home app, he could see a massive list of accounts belonging to other users who use the same television model.
In addition to that, he also found that he could access photos that they added to their Google Photos album. This means that in theory, someone could have used your photos as their Android TV’s screensaver without your knowledge. Now there are some conflicting reports on that front as some claim that this doesn’t work, so it is unclear if this was a one-time thing for the user who discovered the bug, or if it might vary from user to user.
Thankfully Google is aware of the issue and has temporarily disabled the ability to view photos from Google Photos on Android TV until they can get a fix out. They have also issued a statement on the matter:
“We take our users’ privacy extremely seriously. While we investigate this bug, we have disabled the ability to remotely cast via the Google Assistant or view photos from Google Photos on Android TV devices.”
When I access my Vu Android TV through the @Google Home app, and check the linked accounts, it basically lists what I imagine is every single person who owns this television. This is shocking incompetence. pic.twitter.com/5DGwrArsco
— prashanth (@wothadei) March 3, 2019