Certain app companies are purportedly recording the screen movements of iPhone users through a data analytics company.
Initially reported by Tech Crunch and blogger The App Analyst, a select number of companies are said to be using the data analytics company Glassbox to track the information of users whenever it is inputted on their screens, including the buttons they press.
Known as "session replay," this technology ostensibly allows companies to see how customers interact with app interfaces. But the information that users give can also be sensitive, like passport numbers, passwords, and credit card information. Even though this classified data is supposed to be wiped by Glassbox software, this doesn't always happen, leaving customers vulnerable to identity theft in the hands of hackers, or worse.
"Since this data is often sent back to Glassbox servers I wouldn't be shocked if they have already had instances of them capturing sensitive banking information and passwords," The App Analyst stated in an interview with Tech Crunch.
Tech Crunch also reported that they could not find any passages in these companies' terms and conditions and/or privacy policies that allowed for screen recordings -- meaning that mobile app users are neither notified nor can consent to the use of session replay and/or data collection by a third party.
After TechCrunch published their piece on Glassbox's data collection technology, an Air Canada spokesperson reached out to the news outlet, saying they utilize "customer provided information to ensure we can support their travel needs and to ensure we can resolve any issues that may affect their trips," which "includes user information entered in and collected on the Air Canada mobile app."
"However, Air Canada does not - and cannot - capture phone screens outside of the Air Canada app," the company clarified.
Despite the airline's assurances, their use of third-party data analytics software could be worrisome for customers. Last year, Air Canada reported a security breach on its mobile app, which compromised the profile data of 20,000 users.
Other companies like Abercrombie & Fitch also responded to Tech Crunch with their own statement, saying, "[Glassbox] helps support a seamless shopping experience, enabling us to identify and address any issues customers might encounter in their digital experience."
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