Yesterday, we reported that a number of popular iOS apps were caught using an analytics framework, known as Glassbox, that allows developers to record users while they are using the apps. But that was not even the biggest issue, the problem came in when these screen recordings were not properly masked thus revealing sensitive user information including credit card details and PINs.
In response to this revelation that was unearthed through an investigation by TechCrunch, Apple has issued a statement warning involved developers regarding the use of screen recorders. “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,” said Apple in a statement.
Apple also confirmed that they had notified the app developers that were found to be recording users’ activity of their violation. Apparently, Apple, as of yesterday had already instructed one of the developers to remove the analytics code from their app and resubmit their app for review within 24 hours or the app would be expelled from the App Store.
Unfortunately, Glassbox is not only an iOS problem as the framework is also available to Android developers. Up until now, Google has not said a word regarding the use of such frameworks on its platform, especially for apps distributed through the Play Store. However, like Apple, Google does prohibit the secret recording of the user’s activity through its guidelines.
Gadgets Africa’s Take:
It is a good gesture from Apple by issuing such stern warning against developers who don’t strive to protect users’ privacy. However, this may be a case of too little, too late as there’s no way the company did not know the existence of such apps on their platform before everything blew over.