Apple Threatens to Remove Apps Caught Recording Users’ Data Without Permission

Apple’s crackdown on screen-recording apps is a privacy win

The App Analyst, who posts his analysis online about how apps collect user data, recently pointed out that the Air Canada iOS app uses Glassbox. This means that there is absolutely no way the user can know their screen is being recorded by an app. Further, these screen recordings are sent to app developers to showcase how users have been interacting with apps via their swipe and tap inputs and keyboard types as well.

A mobile device expert known as the App Analyst explained how data captured by the apps often failed to hide private information. The app that this expert looked at was Air Canada's iPhone app.

It was also revealed that in some cases users' passport numbers and credit card data were contained in the session replay.

As if it wasn't already creepy enough that these apps have the ability to spy on your phone use, in some instances, such as when you use the Air Canada app, your personal information is at risk of being breached.

Apple's response to this screen-recording controversy shows that its primary concern isn't necessarily the analytics code itself but the disclosure to users that such technology is being used. So, not too bad.

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Apps like Singapore Airlines and Hotels.com also use Glassbox's session replay technology in their apps. In the end, he said that it is impossible to know if an app is recording the screen or not.

None of the apps that were found to be recording their users' screens said they were doing so in their privacy policies. None of these apps need user permission to record users' screens.

'.We firmly believe that our customers should have clear policies in place so that consumers are aware that their data is being recorded - just as contact centers inform users that their calls are being recorded, ' the company added. "This information helps companies better understand how consumers are using their services, and where and why they are struggling", a Glassbox spokesperson told Mashable. Which sounds like a good idea except that they haven't asked for permission and the session replay tech can be embedded into any app.

Expedia noted that its brands aren't using Glassbox on any of its "native applications for iOS or Android".

The companies behind these popular apps are not in denial of such a practice as they find it useful to help improve user experience on the app.

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Unfortunately, this isn't something that's going away any time soon - or probably ever. The app, called Research and sometimes referred to as Project Atlas, gave Facebook complete visibility into users' app activity, web searches, encrypted data, and even private messages.

What does SIA do with your data?

Yet we believe it is partial and doesn't adequately convey the many benefits for our customers and their users; or reflect the security and privacy capabilities inherent in Glassbox.

It's nearly like those customer service calls where you're told the session would be recorded, supposedly to improve the service (but also for future evidence). Plus there's no mention of the mobile app in Clause 3. Especially if that data is being collected in secret.

That's a little clearer, perhaps? And Glassbox? They don't require their customers to make note of the recording features at all.

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