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Cellphones GUI Privacy Your Rights Online

HTC Android Smartphone Stores Browsing Screenshots 179

Posted by Soulskill
from the hope-you-read-this-before-your-wife-does dept.
Mad Hamster writes "Boy Genius Report points out that the HTC Droid Incredible, using the Sense UI, 'will periodically store screenshots of the contents of your web browser.' These shots are stored in such a way that they are not easily deleted. 'They remain when the current browser session is closed, they remain after you clear the browser history, and they remain after a full factory reset,' though there is a way to delete them manually."
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HTC Android Smartphone Stores Browsing Screenshots

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  • by casings (257363) on Friday June 18, 2010 @04:50PM (#32618806)

    Sounds like the equivalent of writing alert("here"); in javascript?

    Don't think this is a big deal.

  • Huh. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Friday June 18, 2010 @04:52PM (#32618826) Journal

    Wonder what those are used for?

    Are they ever read? Sent anywhere? Are they permanent (always taking up space), or are they rotated out?

    Is there any particular reason I should care?

  • by Bakkster (1529253) <Bakkster@man.gmail@com> on Friday June 18, 2010 @04:53PM (#32618834)

    Don't think this is a big deal.

    Until you lose your phone and someone is able to see your e-mails with passwords contained.

    It probably is a debug feature, but it's one that DEFINITELY should have been disabled before release.

  • Bookmarks. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by LordAndrewSama (1216602) on Friday June 18, 2010 @05:02PM (#32618958)
    The HTC Hero has a bookmark widget that uses screenshots of the websites as the buttons with a small label underneath(which is the websites title text I think). Since these images are called bookmark_thumb, I'm going to propose it has something to do with that...
  • Re:Huh. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MozeeToby (1163751) on Friday June 18, 2010 @05:04PM (#32618980)

    Is there any particular reason I should care?

    They remain even after a factory reset, which is a little concerning. TFA mentions they found screenshots of everything from their Facebook page to the bank website and everything in between, probably not enough to steal your money or your accounts but still enough to track your activity on the web. If you're doing anything on your HTC phone that you'd rather not have other people (informed, ambitious, and already suspicious people at least) find out about then yes it should concern you a bit.

  • by aristotle-dude (626586) on Friday June 18, 2010 @05:29PM (#32619376)

    Since when does clicking a file and pressing delete qualify as "not easily deleted"?

    So, now you have to use a file manager to administrate your phone?

    Android is so easy to use, all you need is a third party task manager to close your apps and a filemanager to clear these thumbnails. Wow, Android is so user friendly. /sarc.

    You are making light of a serious security hole were someone to get a hold of your phone or even the SD card from your phone.

  • Re:iTunes or Google (Score:3, Interesting)

    by hkmwbz (531650) on Friday June 18, 2010 @05:48PM (#32619636) Journal
    This is done by HTC's custom software, not by Android. Furthermore, there is no evidence that there is anything sinister going on. All this is, is that HTC made a silly choice when storing thumbnails for bookmarks.
  • by DaveGod (703167) on Friday June 18, 2010 @05:53PM (#32619700)

    Since in their hurried excitement TFA didn't report (or even ask) if this applied to other Android / Sense phones, I see them on my HTC Desire. Anyone using an Android phone without Sense (that is, any non-HTC made Android phone) willing to report? We're all assuming Sense, and it seems likely, but I've not seen any kind of confirmation.

    The images aren't there to be sent back to HTC or whatever, they're just thumbnails for the fancypants UI. But there is an unintended security/privacy risk - that a malicious app could upload them, because apps can read anywhere on the SD card (if the app info says they can access the SD card, they can read all of it). OP is quite the dramatisation though, I read it to suggest shenanigans due to that folder being specifically and strangely excluded from the factory reset. That's not the case, the folder is on the SD card none of which is wiped on a factory reset - only the phone's storage is. If you're selling it with your phone (of any kind) you should know to also wipe the SD card.

    Also, we don't know what the deletion policy is i.e. how much space they might eventually taking up, this is probably making a bit of an effort to imagine possibilities to complain about.

    Another comment suggests "Can be fixed by deleting the folder .bookmark_thumb1 and create an empty txt file .bookmark_thumb1" (which, since being lackadaisical seems to be the in thing, I can't be bothered testing to confirm).

  • 144 Comments? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Tokerat (150341) on Saturday June 19, 2010 @01:40AM (#32622738) Journal

    Only 144 Comments? Why isn't everyone losing their shit over thisOH I see, it's not about Apple. I stand corrected. Please move to the next Apple thread and begin your irrational bashing there. Thanks!

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