A bug in Mozilla Firefox enabled websites to keep the smartphone camera active even after leaving the browser or locking the phone. The company is working on fixing the bug and are planning to release the fix around October this year.
The bug was first reported by Appear TV, a video delivery platform last year in July. The bug activates when a user opens a video streaming app from their Mozilla Firefox browser in their Android smartphone.
It was first noticed by Appear TV when the video kept playing in the background even when it should have stopped that is the video kept playing in the background even when the user moved out of the browser or pushed it to the background or locked the phone. This raised concerns over user’s privacy and bandwidth loss. “From our analysis, a website is allowed to retain access to your camera or microphone whilst you’re using other apps, or even if the phone is locked,” said a privacy app, Traced in talks with ZDNet. “While there are times you might want the microphone or video to keep working in the background, your camera should never record you when your phone is locked”.
On Fixing the Issue
“As is the case with dedicated conferencing apps, we provide a system notification that lets people know when a website within Firefox is accessing the camera or microphone, but recognize that we can do better, especially since this gets hidden when the screen is locked,” a Mozilla spokesperson said in a statement.
“This bug [fix] aims to address this by defaulting to audio-only when the screen is locked,” Mozilla added. “[The fix] is scheduled for release at the platform-level this October, and for consumers shortly after.”
Mozilla has been working on a next-generation browser Firefox Nightly with more focus on privacy to replace their current browser for Android. The update is out for testing.
“Meanwhile, our next-generation browser for Android, now available for testing as Firefox Nightly, already has a prominent notification for when sites access this hardware as well,” said Mozilla.
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