Expedia, Hotels.com Caught Secretly Recording iPhone Screens; Apple Threatens To Ban These Apps

This is a major data breach of iPhone users' privacy.

iPhone screens are being recorded, without user consent
iPhone screens are being recorded, without user consent

At a time where data privacy is a huge deal, there are apps that are sneaking into your phone, and taking screenshots of crucial information that is meant to be private. Well, not anymore! Apple has threatened to remove such apps from its App store if they record user’s information and actions without gaining permission from the concerned user.

Numerous popular apps, like airline apps, hotel apps, cell phone carriers, banks and financiers, and retail apps have been allegedly recording users’ private and confidential data in their iPhones without actually informing them or taking their consent.

Screenshots and Recording through Glassbox

As per reports, Companies, such as Air Canada, Hollister, Abercrombie & Fitch, Hotels.com, Singapore Airlines and Expedia are taking the assistance of a third party, Glassbox, which is an analytics company, which has been developed with the intention to check if an app is functioning smoothly or not.

Glassbox is implemented by these apps to record every action you take on your iPhone. It can give these apps extremely private information like your passport numbers, credit card numbers, and any other financial details and personal information.

For instance, in Air Canada’s app for iPhones, the screenshots clearly showed users’ passwords, credit cards, passport numbers and other such information. This obviously means that if anything goes wrong with the servers of Glassbox, the users’ information is out in the open for anyone to see and access.

Apple’s threat to ban apps from the App Store

As per reports, Apple said that the privacy of users is extremely important to them and such data breach will not be taken lightly. “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,” said Apple.

The developers have been notified by Apple about the violation of privacy by their apps. Apple has also announced that immediate action will be taken against the breachers if necessary.

The notification sent to the developers reads: 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.

Glassbox not interested in ‘Spying’

A spokesperson from Glassbox has commented on this report, that they are not interested in ‘spying’ on the users, rather they focus on improving “online customer experiences and to protect consumers from a compliance perspective.”

What do you think of such data leaks? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section!

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