- Apple asks developers to remove screen recording code from their apps.
- The company gave developers less than a day’s time to make the changes.
- Apple warned developers that if they fail to do so, their apps will be removed from the App Store.
Apple has told the app developers to either remove or properly disclose the use of analytics code in their apps that reportedly allowed them to record how a user interacts with their apps. The company has also said that if developers fail to do so, they would have their apps removed from the App Store. The warning comes a day after TechCrunch exposed certain apps that it found were recording every tap and swipe inside the app without users’ consent.
“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,” an Apple spokesperson told TechCrunch.
The publication says that Apple also notified the app developers that their apps have flouted Apple’s rules. Citing its App Store Guidelines, Apple emailed a developer saying, “Your app uses analytics software to collect and send user or device data to a third party without the user’s consent. Apps must request explicit user consent and provide a clear visual indication when recording, logging, or otherwise making a record of user activity.” the company has reportedly given the developers less than a day’s time to remove the code and resubmit their app “or the app would be removed from the app store.”
Meanwhile Glassbox, an Israeli startup that provides Sessions Replay analytics tool to record each and every customer session, says that it provides the technology, among many reasons, to help reduce app error rates. When asked if Glassbox knows about Apple’s action against the apps that use its technology, a spokesperson said that “the communication with Apple is through our customers.”
TechCrunch says that Glassbox also provide its services to Android app developers. Google Play also prohibits apps from secretly collecting device usage. According to the developers rules laid down by Google, “Apps must not hide or cloak tracking behaviour or attempt to mislead users about such functionality.” Google, however, has not responded to the issue.
This comes on the heels of a recent case where Apple advocated its stance on user’s privacy by revoking Facebook and Google’s Enterprise Certificate that allowed the tech companies to distribute their own private app and allegedly monitor iPhone usage. Through their apps, Facebook Research and (Google’s) Screenwise Meter, both these companies were reported to be keeping track of a user's web traffic and data. Later, Apple restored their apps’ functionalities.