Apple Is Cracking Down On Apps That Secretly Record Your Screen

Recently, TechCrunch and The App Analyst revealed in a report that there are major app companies that use an analytics tool that will record a users every swipe and tap they make while using their apps.

Apple, which has earned the reputation of ‘industry watch dog’ for privacy security has begun to inform app developers to remove this screen-recording code or their apps will be removed from Apple’s App Store.

Using this screen-recording code goes against the App Store Review Guidelines because those apps using the code do not ask the user’s permission to record a user’s activities and their screens.  The App Store guidelines specifically states that apps are required to “request user consent and provide clear visual indication when recording, logging, or otherwise making a record of user activity.”

TechCrunch also reported that while the analytics tool is used to cover up sensitive data from a user’s screen there are times when sensitive information like credit card numbers and such things as passport information are being leaked out. 

According to an Apple representative, Apple has contacted all app developers who are violating Apple’s privacy policies to make the necessary corrections or Apple will take immediate action to remove their apps.  For some app developers, Apple has givena one day deadline to remove the code and resubmit their apps or be removed from the App Store.

One major app development company is Glassbox who provides the screen recording technology to companies such as Air Canada, Ambercrombe & Finch, Expedia and Hotels.com.  The app developed for these companies using the analytic tool allows them to see how a user is using their app or on the users actions.  

Glass box denies that its clients are ‘spying’ on their customers, stating that it provides their clients with the ability to mask every element of personal data while their customers are using their apps, it said in a statement to Engadget. Glassbox further stated that it does not share any information with ‘third parties’ and that all data information it gathers is highly secured and encrypted.

In an article on Feb. 7, 2019, Engadget printed Glassbox’s full statementwhich to summarize gives Glassbox’s denial of any wrong doing and that its clients are not interested in ‘spying’ on their customers activities online or in retrieving any personal data not pertinent to their customers interaction with them.

Glassbox states“Brands come to us because Glassbox means source-proof, tamper-proof, encrypted records of digital activity. These characteristics make Glassbox invaluable, not to ‘spy’ on customers, but to (a) aid in creating the best and easiest digital journey, and (b) protect both brands and customers with evidential truth that allows for safe and compliant digital experiences.”