You might want to rethink keeping some of your phone apps after learning what some companies are doing to your phone without your knowledge. Canadian companies are reportedly recording your phone screen without you knowing, through popular mobile apps. How creepy right? According to a new report from TechCrunch, several big companies may be secretly recording what Canadians are doing on their phones without people even realizing. It gets even worse – these companies don't even have to ask you for permission to do it.
Canadian companies like Air Canada, Expedia, Hotels.com as well as Abercrombie & Fitch are reportedly using software called Glassbox, which records user activity on their phone without telling the person affected, according to Mashable.
Basically what would happen if companies are using Glassbox is that every time a user performs an action on their phone screens, such as a tap, swipe, or typing on a keyboard, within a specific app, that user activity is then secretly recorded and screenshotted to be sent back to the app, according to Business Insider.
So for example, if you're on an app for an airline company, every single one of your actions on the screen could be sent back to the airline without you knowing.
Although Glassbox doesn't tell you or notify you if they're recording your phone screen, the company has made it pretty clear that it is what they do. Check out a screenshot of their Twitter bio below for proof.
"Apps like Abercrombie & Fitch, Hotels.com and Singapore Airlines also use Glassbox, a customer experience analytics firm, one of a handful of companies that allows developers to embed 'session replay' technology into their apps," says TechCrunch in their report.
"These session replays let app developers record the screen and play them back... Every tap, button push and keyboard entry is recorded — effectively screenshotted — and sent back to the app developers".
This matter could be a huge breach of privacy and security concern. A mobile expert called The App Analyst told TechCrunch that "Air Canada’s iPhone app wasn’t properly masking the session replays when they were sent, exposing passport numbers and credit card data in each replay session".
Glassbox has confirmed themselves that Air Canada is indeed one of their clients. Check out the tweet they retweeted announcing the partnership below.
According to TechCrunch, Air Canada had said that just weeks ago, their app had a major data breach and information from 20,000 profiles were leaked. "This lets Air Canada employees — and anyone else capable of accessing the screenshot database — see unencrypted credit card and password information," the mobile expert told TechCrunch.
TechCrunch reported that Expedia, Hotels.com, and Air Canada do not mention that they record screens and user activity in their app in their privacy policies. They reached out to them for comment. Expedia and Hotels.com did not comment.
Air Canada did respond to TechCrunch on the matter. "Air Canada uses customer provided information to ensure we can support their travel needs and to ensure we can resolve any issues that may affect their trips," said a spokesperson.
"This 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.
For more information or to see the full report by TechCrunch, you can visit their website.