Friday, 26 April, 2019


Some Popular iPhone Apps Are Secretly Recording Your Screen

The home screen on the iPhone XS Enlarge The home screen on the iPhone
Melba Vasquez | 09 February, 2019, 07:00

These apps have been found to literally record your iPhone screen, without asking for your permission or notifying you about it. "Apps must request explicit user consent and provide a clear visual indication when recording, logging, or otherwise making a record of user activity", Apple said in an email to TechCrunch. However, the fact that users aren't made aware that their screens are being recorded feels like a massive invasion of privacy. The latter employ Glassbox - a platform is created to capture, record, analyze, and replay digital sessions with customers - via their apps.

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. These replays allow developers to see exactly what you do with their apps and understand what, if anything, went wrong during a session.

The analytics firm allows for a "session replay" technology in apps, which allows developers to see how users interact with the application. Since its inception, Glassbox has helped organizations improve millions of customer experiences by providing tools that record and analyze user activity on websites and apps.

In an interview with TechCrunch, mobile expert "The App Analyst" claimed Air Canada had not been taking proper security caution with the "session replays", with employees able to see unencrypted private information entered by users. Also, some session replays reportedly compromised sensitive user information.

Further, no other app was found to be not masking the sensitive app.

Also, Apple will be checking for screen recording code more often before the developers submit their apps to the App Store, to weed out the privacy-invading code. These are effectively screen recordings extracted from users without their express consent. The Cupertino giant has responded to this report by demanding that developers disclose the use of this technology in their apps.

Abercrombie confirmed that it uses Glassbox but the company's privacy policy makes no mention of session replays, reports TechCrunch. These apps are associated with a number of specific large companies who have been using a service called Glassbox. In Air Canada's case, the TechCrunch investigation did not find any mention in its privacy policy that suggests the app sends screen data back to the airline. In addition, Glassbox said the data they capture is "highly secured, encrypted, and exclusively belongs to the customers" the company supports.

However, Abercrombie said that using Glassbox "helps support a seamless shopping experience, enabling us to identify and address any issues customers might encounter in their digital experience", according to 9to5Mac.

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