Sci-tech

Some iOS apps track every tap or swipe you make

Some iOS apps track every tap or swipe you make”

Glassbox posted a tweet recently that said, "Imagine if your website or mobile app could see exactly what your customers do in real time, and why they did it". For example, it was found that Air Canada's app exposed credit card number and passport data in each replay session. Which sounds like a good idea except that they haven't asked for permission and the session replay tech can be embedded into any app.

In theory, Glassbox's services come with screen masking, which should occlude on-screen sensitive information with black bars. This includes user information entered in, and collected on, the Air Canada mobile app.

"This gives Air Canada employees - and anyone else capable of accessing the screenshot database - to see unencrypted credit card and password information", he proclaimed.

A detailed report from TechCrunch has revealed some shocking findings regarding major travels apps for iPhones. So, not too bad. However, the fact that users aren't made aware that their screens are being recorded feels like a massive invasion of privacy.

A mobile device expert known as the App Analyst explained how data captured by the apps often failed to hide private information. And that info gets piped back to developers to supposedly work on improving the user experience of their apps.

In some cases, the session replays were sent to Glassbox, while in other cases it was sent back to company's own servers.

Hotel.com's policy does not mention recording users' screens, nor does Expedia's. So really, there's no way to know. But those systems sometimes failed, and passwords, payment, and other information were captured in screen recordings. Neither did Singapore Airlines. In Air Canada's case, the TechCrunch investigation did not find any mention in its privacy policy that suggests the app sends screen data back to the airline.

Expedia noted that its brands aren't using Glassbox on any of its "native applications for iOS or Android". So, if you're using Expedia, the app can record everything you swipe, tap, and type into the Expedia app.

From a user experience perspective, this makes sense.

A bunch of popular iOS apps may be recording every move you make on their app.

It responded to a report by TechCrunch that a selection of apps for iPhone and iPad record user gestures without permission. Companies rely on this kind of technology for their survival.

What does SIA do with your data?

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".

In an official statement, a company spokesperson pointed to a keyboard app, which although it covers certain applications, it doesn't provide access to its customers to see logged data. The technology is used to capture numerous screenshots during a user's session with the app.



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