How many Watergate-like scandals can one company have and still survive, let alone prosper? Remember Antenna-gate? iPhone 4’s antenna, somehow or another, had the same wireless connectivity problems all smartphones of the era had. Bad Apple. Down. Sit.
Then there was Battery-gate, Bend-gate, and iPhone Touch Disease. Scandals never end at Apple. What’s the latest? Let me call it Screen-gate. Uh huh. Without your knowledge, iPhone apps have the ability to record what you do on your iPhone’s screen.
Many major companies, like Air Canada, Hollister and Expedia, are recording every tap and swipe you make on their iPhone apps. In most cases you won’t even realize it. And they don’t need to ask for permission.
Now, I get it. App developers need information about usage and user habits and how their applications are, well, being used by users. It all has to do with a technology called “session replay.”
These session replays let app developers record the screen and play them back to see how its users interacted with the app to figure out if something didn’t work or if there was an error. Every tap, button push and keyboard entry is recorded — effectively screenshotted — and sent back to the app developers.
This isn’t the same thing as recording what you do on the iPhone’s screen as a video while you use applications– but it’s very close to the same thing. Without your knowledge, apps are collecting information about your screen activities– while using the app– and phoning it home to who knows whom and who knows where.
That’s OK, right? Surely there is notification of such behind-the-scenes activity in the various privacy policies, right?
Did you know that app developers have that capability? Did you know they collect your on-screen actions and send it off for analysis?
Color me a little paranoid but that whole scenario seems creepy.
The fact that the app developers don’t publicize it just goes to show how creepy even they know it is.
There you go.
This is nothing new, and I find it odd that either people didn’t know about it, or didn’t seem to care.
I care. Or, at least, I care enough to want to know exactly what is going on with the app’s information capture and where it goes and for what purposes.
I don’t know that.
They are not recording your screen in the sense you are thinking. Most analytics frameworks are recording your taps and swipes INSIDE, and ONLY INSIDE the app itself. They can’t record anything outside of that app.
That’s good to know. Why didn’t somebody tell iPhone users?
Chances are, you have one more apps that perform this kind of analytics. And in the very worst case, someone is using a remote logging platform to log virtually everything you are typing in the app, and if it’s cloud hosted then maybe it is vulnerable to hacking and that will suck for everyone.
Screen-gate it is. Another scandal for the paranoid to remain paranoid about.