Several tourism-related apps for iOS devices secretly track actions and make smartphone screenshots without the awareness of users.
It got about that among such applications mostly there are booking services, for instance, Hotels.com, Singapore Airlines app, Expedia, and a popular clothing store app - Abercrombie & Fitch. All those brands took advantage of the functions of the analytical company Glassbox. Through the unique code, built into the mobile application, one can monitor the user activity for further analysis and programs improvement.
Apple has confirmed the reliability of this information. The company stated that such kind of tools is used without the consent of the customer, which violates the rules of the App Store and are considered as the spying methods. As a result, Apple caught out and warned app developers to either remove the code for monitoring users actions or to notify users of the surveillance and get their permission for that. If companies do not comply with Apple's requirements, their applications will be automatically removed from the store.
On the other hand, Glassbox mentioned that the company is not committed to "spy" on users, and the purpose of data collecting remains only for improving the overall users' experience.
Also, Glassbox tried to explain that all the received information is only for the customers good. This knowledge delivers a better understanding of users focus and needs, or even the problems they face in the app. Besides, the company pinpointed that they provide tools which allow hiding personal data while collecting information.
Even though this is not the first episode of the obscured data accumulating by various apps presented in the App Store, recently, Facebook violated the rules mentioned above, so Apple stripped FB and Google of the Corporate certificate together with the possibility to distribute their links outside the store.