Apple is cracking the whip on developers, who are secretly recording the screen without the user being aware of this or having granted specific permissions for the same.
This was first reported by TechCrunch that apps like Expedia, Hollister and Hotels.com were relying on a third-party analytics tool to record a user’s screen. This was done when the user had the app open and was browsing inside.
Apple in a statement to the website confirmed that it warned the developers to either disclose the use of the analytics code or remove this from the apps. Otherwise the apps will be removed from the iOS App Store.
According to the TechCrunch report, an Apple spokesperson said, “Our App Store Review Guidelines require that apps request explicit user consent and provide a clear visual indication when recording, logging, or otherwise making a record of user activity.We have notified the developers that are in violation of these strict privacy terms and guidelines, and will take immediate action if necessary.”
Some of the app were using an analytics tools called Glassbox, which allows companies to “integrate its screen recording technology into their apps to replay how a user interacts with the apps.” The use of the tool would be in explicit violation of Apple’s policies, which says no data can be collected without a user’s permission.
Meanwhile Glassbox has also issued a statement on the report. According to Engadget, which put out Glasssbox’s detailed statement, the company said its customers are not interested in ‘spying’ on users.
“We are strong supporters of user privacy and security. Glassbox provides its customers with the tools to mask every element of personal data. 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,” notes the statement.
Apps secretly recording user’s screen was not the only privacy issue facing Apple this year. A FaceTime privacy bug was discovered last week, which would allow another party to eavesdrop on the other side. Apple has now rolled out the iOS 12.1.4 update, which it says will fix this problem.