Popular iPhone apps are watching your every 'tap' and 'swipe' without consent

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

Apple will remove screen recording apps if they don't own up

The problem? Every tap and keyboard button press is recorded, sending sensitive information unencrypted to developers. "Worse, even though these apps are meant to mask certain fields, some inadvertently expose sensitive data", TechCrunch reported on Thursday. The process of screen recording is known as session replaying and it is done with the help of third party company called Glassbox. It does indeed not make customers say they are using Glassbox screen recording tools in their private policies. Although all apps submitted to Apple's App Store must have a privacy policy, the news site reports that none of the apps they reviewed make it clear that they record a user's screen.

One of the developers told TechCrunch that such action would include removing their app from the App Store if it isn't following the guidelines. However, the steps that some developers take to collect this information can feel intrusive and violate a user's privacy unless developers are clear and upfront about how they collect user data. This third-party firm embed this technology in the mobile app.

All the apps using Glassbox's controversial "session replay" technology either send the data back to their own server or push it to Glassbox's could.

This may be the reason for the company's iPhone app data breach which exposed 20,000 profiles last August.

UPDATE: Feb. 8, 2019, 9:41 a.m. CET "Glassbox and its customers are not interested in "spying" on consumers". As for Apple, it's baffling that the company doesn't have restrictions against this kind of tech-or at least forced notifications alerting users when an app is using analytics technology to secretly record a user's screen. If customers see that the app is recording their activities, they might get cautious or exit the app.

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The idea is that by playing back user sessions, the developers can figure out if something on the app isn't working or if there was an error of any sort. These replays allow app developers to record their users' screens and play them back to see how they interacted with the app.

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

Air Canada told TechCrunch that the company "Air Canada uses customer provided information to ensure we can support their travel needs and to ensure we can resolve any issues that may affect their trips".

However, it's less about using Glassbox's technology, which seems to be the situation for most organizations aside from Air Canada, and more about the proper disclosure of screen recoding software.

"However, in many cases, the app users are not completely blameless - many don't even bother reading apps' terms of usage and blindly grant any permissions requested by the app".

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