Popular iOS apps discreetly recording your phone screen

Apple to developers disclose screen recording or be removed from App Store

Apple to developers disclose screen recording or be removed from App Store

This allows developers to record your screen to see how you interact with the app - mainly used to detect errors and to enhance user experience.

In this process, The App Analyst noted that some apps expose sensitive user information, which can be easily hacked at an event of a cyber-attack.

The software is created to enable companies to figure out why the app malfunctions but, as TechCrunch notes, the fact that it's hidden from users suggests the app developers realize exactly how invasive it is. "However, Air Canada does not-and cannot-capture phone screens outside of the Air Canada app", a spokesperson for Air Canada told TechCrunch.

Several iOS apps have triggered an alarm for breaching the privacy of its users, which are secretly recording users' screens without asking for consent or informing of such a practice.

It's a foregone conclusion that app makers will get at least some data on how you use their product.

The investigation alleges that the apps go much further than the data collection and monetization people have come to expect. According to security research The App Analyst, whose work was earlier reported on by TechCrunch, Glassbox gives developers a "session replay" technology that allows them to see exactly how you used the app.

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"Without analyzing the data for each app, it's impossible to know if an app is recording a user's screens of how you're using the app". But it's not the only app to gather information about what users are up to, and to feed this back to developers.

Masking sensitive data sometimes failed in Air Canada session replays.

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. Now, they have moved a step ahead and started to record the whole screen without knowing the users. TechCrunch's comprehensive investigation mentions a specific analytics firm called Glassbox as being used by most travel apps for this objective.

Air Canada has about 1.7 million customers registered with the Air Canada mobile app. But there was no clarity on where in Abercrombie and Hollister's privacy policies it is mentioned of screen recording.

To be clear, session replays and other similar technologies, which are available from a host of companies in addition to Glassbox, are not illegal or necessarily a bad thing. Finally, Glassbox says it provides its customers with "with the ability to mask every piece of data entered by a consumer, restrict access to authorized users, and maintain a full audit log of every user accessing the system".

An SIA spokesperson said, "The data we collect is in accordance with our privacy policy which includes the use of customer data for testing and troubleshooting issues".

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