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Apple Threatens to Remove Apps Caught Recording Users’ Data Without Permission

© REUTERS / Thomas PeterPeople walk past an Apple store in Beijing, China January 7, 2019
People walk past an Apple store in Beijing, China January 7, 2019 - Sputnik International
Apple has told developers that they need to tell users if and when they’re being recorded doing an action of any type while they're using an app or else their app will be removed from the store.

The statement from Apple came after TechCrunch reported that iPhone apps from Expedia, Air Canada and Hollister were using "session replay" software from a Glassbox company that allowed them to record a user's actions. The actions included swiping and recent screen taps made while using an app. The applications didn’t tell users they were recording their actions.

“Protecting user privacy is paramount in the Apple ecosystem,” Apple said, according to TechCrunch. “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.”

READ MORE: Apple CEO Urges US Federal Trade Commission to Create Data-Broker Clearinghouse

“We have notified the developers that are in violation of these strict privacy terms and guidelines, and will take immediate action if necessary,” the spokesperson added in an email.

Apple CEO Tim Cook - Sputnik International
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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. Apple gave the developer less than a day to remove some offending code and resubmit their app or else the app would be removed from the app store, as indicated by an email Apple sent to the developer.

Glassbox is a cross-platform analytics tool that specializes in session replay technology. It allows the integration of its screen recording technology into apps to help reduce app error rates. The company “doesn’t enforce its customers” to mention that they use Glassbox’s screen recording tools in their privacy policies.

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