Although Apple posits itself as a champion of privacy and security, apps like Google and Facebook had flouted its policies openly when they paid users to install logging apps from sources besides the App store, thereby abusing their Enterprise Certificates. And this has been followed by an unveiling of the fact that some of the most popular iPhone apps may be recording screen taps and swipes without informing users or even taking their permission.
It has now been revealed that apps like Hotels.com, Hollister, Expedia, Abercrombie & Fitch, Air Canada, and Singapore Airlines have been recording consumer usage habits without giving them a disclaimer, albeit with the aim to study usage habits and user interaction with the apps in order to usher in improvements to the same. All these apps are reportedly using the ‘screen replay’ technology provided by customer experience analytics firm, Glassbox. What this technology effectively does is capture screens of every tap and keyboard movement which are then sent either directly to app developers or to them via Glassbox to be replayed and analyzed.
The information has been unveiled by TechCrunch which has recently shouldered the responsibility of uncovering such malpractices related to user privacy. Some of the data recorded by ‘screen replay’ include sensitive details like passwords and credit card info, which, although masked by some apps before being sent to remote servers, are often left unprotected by others. Air Canada, which has recently had a massive data breach, is among the apps that leave the information open and unprotected.
As of now, it is yet to be seen if such secret operations are openly at loggerheads with any of Apple’s policies. It is also true that analytics firms like Glassbox are not going away any time soon, making the app space not so safe area for users anymore. However, there’s hope that the new exposé may give the authorities relevant info about such ongoing malpractices to help them take action in the future.
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