On Thursday, Apple threatened to remove applications from its App Store if they record users’ activity without their consent. According to a report that had surfaced online earlier this week, iPhone apps from Expedia, Air Canada and Hollister were using ‘session replay’ software from a company named Glassbox.
This allowed them to record user’s actions like screen taps and swipes while using an application. The applications, according to the report by TechCrunch, recorded users’ activities without letting them know about it. Therefore, Apple made a decision to tell the app developers to inform users before recording their activities.
Since Apple has made this move, various technology websites have praised it for being concerned about users’ privacy. Speaking on the matter, Apple has been quoted by TechCrunch saying, “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.”
There are many apps which have been recording users’ mobile device screens and in spite of doing this, have been present on the App Store. These iOS apps include Hotels.com, Abercrombie and Fitch and Expedia. To recall, a few days ago Apple deleted apps from its app store for violating its terms and conditions. Other companies which provide similar services like Glassbox include UXCam and Appsee.
Last week, a bug was reported in Apple’s Facetime app that let users listen to a conversation between two people even without being a part of the call. So, if a user called a contact on FaceTime who was already engaged in a call, the person calling could hear the conversation even before their call was answered.
Since the bug was discovered, Apple had disabled conference calls on its FaceTime app and now, it has finally rolled out a software update to fix the much-talked-about issue.