Recently it was reported that some of the most popular iOS apps out there use a secret screen recording feature for analytics.
In those cases, the fact that those apps are able to record screen taps, swipes, and even record the whole screen while the app is being used goes unnoticed by the user. That’s because the developer of the screen recording feature doesn’t force its employees to inform anyone that they use the feature. And the apps themselves don’t directly divulge that the screen recording feature is baked in, even if it is just for analytics.
Now, as reported by TechCrunch, Apple has told app developers that they have two options: Either remove the screen recording code altogether or properly disclose it’s built into the app iOS users are using. An Apple spokesperson weighed in on the subject:
“Protecting user privacy is paramount in the Apple ecosystem. 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 those apps in question include Hollister, Expedia, Hotels.com, and many others. Glassbox is the analytics tool that works cross-platform that the app developers are integrating into the apps in question. And it isn’t a secret that Apple goes out of its way to forbid this sort of thing from happening, so app developers have been trying to skate under the radar here while implementing the feature.
What’s worse is that not only are these apps skirting the App Store rules, but they are knowingly duping the customer, too. Of course, one can’t happen without the other, so here we are. Still, it’s good that Apple was quick to respond on this one, just as it was when it was discovered that Facebook was ignoring the App Store rules to collect user data. Google, of course, was discovered to be doing the same thing.
Did you stop using these apps for now?