APPLE HAS ACTED swiftly to slap down apps that secretly record users screen in the name of improving user experience.
Cook & co has apparently told developers in no uncertain terms that they have to remove the screen recording code immediately or get thrown off the App Store. According to TechCrunch, Apple has given one developer just a day to comply, so if you notice any apps getting sudden updates overnight which are vague on the benefits, it might be worth wondering why.
"Protecting user privacy is paramount in the Apple ecosystem," an Apple spokesperson is quoted as writing in an email explaining the move. "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."
It's unsurprising that Apple has made the move, given privacy is a big selling point for the brand. Indeed, the company took the unusual step of taking out an enormous advert at a trade show it wasn't officially at boasting that "what happens on your iPhone stays on your iPhone." It turns out that was a guarantee Apple couldn't make thanks to sneaky app analytics.
Glassbox, the company using screen capture for user analysis, denied that it was "spying on consumers," and argued that it "provides its customers with the tools to mask every element of personal data." Furthermore, it said, data captured was "highly secured and encrypted."
"We firmly believe that our customers should have clear policies in place so that consumers are aware that their data is being recorded -- just as contact centres inform users that their calls are being recorded," it added.
That sounds like it might have satisfied Apple to begin with - it's the lack of disclosure that was the main problem after all - but now this has come to light, it wouldn't be wholly surprising if Apple decided that a blanket ban on screen recording would just be a simpler solution to ensure its privacy credentials remains intact. µ
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