Some iPhone apps record your actions without permission, report says

Ruben Fields
February 9, 2019

"The move comes after a TechCrunch report showed that many apps do not disclose such activity to users at all, and some sensitive user data has been compromised through screen recordings". These apps have been found to literally record your iPhone screen, without asking for your permission or notifying you about it. These replays allow app developers to record their users' screens and play them back to see how they interacted with the app.

According to TechCrunch's Zack Whittaker, numerous apps rely on Glassbox, a customer service analytics company.

Now, most of these session recordings ought to mask sensitive and personal information. Air Canada said that its app experienced a data breach which exposed over 20,000 profiles. Air Canada employees with the session data could potentially see your private information. "The data collected by Glassbox customers is only captured via their apps, and is neither shared with any third parties, nor enriched through other external sources".

According to the expert, not every app was leaking masked data.

A hot potato: Apple has long positioned itself as one of the few tech companies that prioritize users' privacy, but it appears that several popular iPhone apps don't support that narrative. And that info gets piped back to developers to supposedly work on improving the user experience of their apps. We didn't even find it in the small print of their privacy policies. So really, there's no way to know.

The worst thing is that the apps do not clearly state that the screen could be recorded and require permissions to do so. Neither did Singapore Airlines.

Abercrombie and Fitch has also responded to the claims, saying that its use of Glassbox "helps support a seamless shopping experience, enabling us to identify and address any issues customers might encounter in their digital experience".

They made no comments on session replays. None of the privacy policies that accompany these apps mention this kind of analytics power explicitly.

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

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Complicating the matter are scandals now confronting two people in line to take Virginia's governorship if Northam resigns. In her statement , she detailed what she said began as a consensual encounter and "quickly turned into a sexual assault".

From a user experience perspective, this makes sense.

Some iPhone apps are recording what you do, according to a report. One app, for example, records what a user swipes on or taps as they use the app.

Such data collection isn't necessarily unusual providing the user has consented to it and the company collecting it puts in the effort to anonymise or obfuscate sensitive data that might be collected in the process.

Additionally, the company said that "captured data via our solution is highly secured, encrypted, and exclusively belongs to the customers we support".

What does SIA do with your data?

"Data is processed in accordance with our privacy policy, which is available on our website", a company spokesperson said in the statement.

You've probably already heard of some of the super creepy apps that have been downloaded onto people's phones, only for them to discover that they've been accessing the phone's camera or other software to spy on the user.

Clause 3 also mentions monitoring and recording calls for training and quality improvement purposes, sending you surveys by email and more.

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