Apple to Ban iPhone Apps Secretly Recording Screen Activity

These Mobile Apps Could Be

The App Analyst findings could have profound implications on privacy. The risks are just too high these days not to have a privacy policy in place. Failure to do so would merit removal from the App Store.

Shortly after it was discovered that Facebook and Google had misused their company certificate to install applications to monitor user activity outside the App Store, a new report appeared on apps that apparently recorded all the interaction of the users and sent them to the developers or to a service provider. This technology essentially allows developers to record displays and review how users interacted with their app. Apple Again in Trouble?

App Store App Deals are one of my favorite things that I like the most on my iPhone. According to TechCrunch, one developer was given less than a day to remove the recording code from their app.

'We have notified the developers that are in violation of these strict privacy terms and guidelines, and will take immediate action if necessary, ' they added.

According to reports by TechCrunch and the App Analyst, iOS applications from the likes of Air Canada, Abercrombie and Fitch, Singapore Airlines, Expedia, and Hotels.com have used "session replay" technology from data analytics company Glassbox to record user's screens while using their apps.

On the other hand, the report also stated that most of the apps evaluated in this manner did not exhibit unmasked data.

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End users of these popular iOS apps have no knowledge of their activities being recorded.

Glassbox's session replay software works by recording a users' screen whenever they input information or press buttons within the app. This data all ends up on the Glassbox servers, and it's generally considered inappropriate for apps to send user data to third parties without consent.

But the apps could be recording - and sending - materials that users wouldn't be happy about, including credit card details, the App Analyst has warned.

While apps in the Apple App Store need to include a privacy policy, none of them mention anything about recording the usage of the app. Glassbox does not require Apple, nor the app user, to give it special permission.

While it Glassbox claims it can mask "everything", it said that its clients sometimes make "mistakes". Our goals are to improve online customer experiences and to protect consumers from a compliance perspective. Unfortunately, the feature can also be exploited by app developers to secretly record your activities.

The company recently tweeted: 'Imagine if your website or mobile app could see exactly what your customers do in real time, and why they did it?' Apple's response to the development is also laudable as it was only yesterday that such practices came to light, how some apps were keeping a tab on user activity using sessions replay fireworks.

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