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Apple just gave a dire warning to all those apps that secretly record your phone’s screen

Apple is good now.

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We recently covered a report originally discovered by TechCrunch that found highly popular iOS apps have been secretly recording everything a user does inside the app. As expected, Apple isn’t happy about this. Now, the company is warning app developers that they need to disclose this to users. It’s either that or they get banned from the App Store.

“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,” an Apple spokesperson told TechCrunch.

To give you some background as to what went down, TechCrunch and App Analyst investigated a bunch of highly-downloaded iOS apps and discovered that a lot of these apps record every single thing you do on your screen while you use the app, from touches to passwords.

Glassbox tech recorded “session replays”

The report found that tech from Glassbox was used in the apps, which can create “session replays,” or literally everything you’ve done during the time of using the app. Ever seen a screencast? This goes way beyond that, also recording things like credit card numbers, passwords, and other types of sensitive data.

The companies involved? We’re talking big names like Air Canada, Expedia, Hotels.com, and Hollister.

Glassbox recently emailed Mashable a statement telling them that its goals are “to improve online customer experiences and to protect consumers from a compliance perspective.”

Whatever that may be, Apple isn’t buying it, and is giving developers less than a day to remove Glassbox’s code from their app and states that these companies must resubmit the app for approval. According to TechCrunch, Apple is telling developers via e-mail that apps “must request explicit user consent and provide a clear visual indication when recording, logging, or otherwise making a record of user activity.”

I mean, duh, that makes sense. But apparently, for some app developers, it doesn’t. Either way, I’m happy to see Apple cracking down on developers who use technology in deceptive ways like this. At the end of the day, let users know that you’re tracking them. 9 times out of 10, most people won’t even care.

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Kevin is KnowTechie's founder and executive editor. With over 15 years of blogging experience in the tech industry, Kevin has transformed what was once a passion project into a full-blown tech news publication. Shoot him an email at kevin@knowtechie.com or find him on Mastodon or Post.

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