The funny thing about Apple scandals is that insignificant issues are often magnified — with Bendgate being one obvious example — while worrisome issues never quite seem to gain traction in the mainstream press. To wit, a recent report revealed that a number of companies with popular iPhone apps have been using a third-party analytics service which allow them to track how customers use their apps, down to every single swipe and tap of a button.
While that may seem innocent enough, the service also provides a “session replay” service which allows companies to take snapshots of a user’s device without overt user-consent. In the process, sensitive personal information such as credit card information and passwords get transmitted to a third-party server. Some of the popular iPhone apps discovered to be using the aforementioned analytics service include Hotels.com, Expedia, and Air Canada.
In light of the report, Apple has since issued a statement clarifying the company’s position on the matter. In short, companies from now on will either have to explicitly inform users that screen recording will be going on or remove the functionality altogether.
Apple’s statement, which was provided to TechCrunch, reads as follows:
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.