Application of major companies — airlines, tour operators and other hidden data is recorded from the screens of smartphone owners. This was announced by the experts of the portal TechCrunch, clear about the definition of this fact, conducting its own investigation. The company used Analytics service Glassbox, which allows you to “see what your customers do in the app”, as promised by the creators of technology. Apple delivered an ultimatum to the developers to warn users about this method of data collection or delete a product from the App Store. TASS together with the experts to understand how widely developers are using Glassbox and the risks that it poses to consumers.

How does the analytical service Glassbox

Glassbox is a product of the Israeli team, he appeared in 2010. Start-up has offices in tel Aviv, London and new York. On the company’s website States that the product helps the application owners to “see” how customers are working inside the platform, and to understand whether their actions to the original idea. The developers, based on this information, can improve its services to the needs of the users.

Technically Glassbox simply records a video of the client in the app — fixed many button and swipe the screen. Such “repetitions” of the client sessions sent to the owners of the platform.

“Perhaps the service makes screenshots, which then sticks together, but in the end the developer gets the video, said the Mayor Khasbulatov, the developer of mobile applications for App Store. Both users in this case are not anonymous. The recipient knows who the “author” of this session. Let’s say you bought tickets through the app of the airline — the Creator of the platform could see how you “moved” in his service: choose dates, flights, locations and passed for payment. What is important is that one cannot and should not see your Bank card details and passport information that you enter in special fields. These fields are encrypted — visually “smeared” black stripes. But in case of an error the developers could see and such confidential information, and these data could be compromised due to a leak”.

According to him, the service Glassbox is used deposement. “We are talking about a few dozen applications, he continues. — And in the App Store over a million. But Glassbox is not all, there are other analytical system. Service Appsee, for example, works about the same way. Developers pay money for the use of these analytical products. Service can cost up to several thousand dollars per month. Every developer wants to analyze the behavior of their customers, but more often we use the free “intelligence” — such services are not “off” screens, and provide reports as text, graphics, charts, and users in this situation — anonymous”.

How dangerous is “tracking” services

In the partner list on the website Glassbox — a little more than a dozen companies. Russian brands among them. Experts believe that start-up more customers, but not all agree to tell that “watch” for consumers.

“You could assume that users will react negatively to the fact that they were not warned about such data collection, — said Sergey Vilyanov, an industrial analyst. In reality, the story “exaggerated”. The service can not record actions outside of the app where it is embedded. If you buy tickets and simultaneously use other apps or texting in messenger service does not “see” your actions on third-party platforms. By the way, on the iOS platform generally there is no open file system — developer has no access to other applications. Payment and passport details well enough “encrypted”. Yes, there is a probability of error and the probability of leakage of personal data, but it can happen regardless of whether the developer is a “witness” services, a direct connection — no, because, by installing the app, you give the owner of the platform access to certain information about you. And leakage can happen through no fault of the developer of the operating system and applications, and at the stage of storage.”

How to understand that the application “follows” you

“That’s the problem — a normal user cannot see what applications use tracking tracker, if they don’t ask when the resolution is set to it, — continues the Mayor Khasbulatov. — Now unless you can go to the App Store and see what apps that you used are no longer there. Or it can be assumed that some of the platforms, which released the updates within a day after the ultimatum Apple — those services that are also recorded our data.”

Sometimes, to understand that the platform has implemented any Analytics service can run on the user agreement, adds Khasbulatov.

To see what rights you gave to the developers, it is possible within the apps or the App Store and Google Play.

“Even when you are setting up a new smartphone, the program asks: “are you Willing to share data with app developers?”, “Are you willing to share personal data, for example, with the Apple?”. Always watch what you allow gadgets”, — says Sergey Vilianov.

“Tracking Analytics services is not the main danger, — continued Akim Khasbulatov. Users often allow applications access to data that should be safely hidden, and give these rights knowingly. An example is an application GetContact that was popular last year. The user can see his phone number written in different people. People enjoyed and thereby allowed the app to “see” your phone book”.

What happened with applications using Glassbox, and the reaction of Apple is an important precedent, experts say.

“Analytics services will develop, but based on the needs of customers in the security of personal data. And companies will become more committed to maximizing the privacy of users, — the Governor Khasbulatov. — Personal data protection — trend for the coming years. Consumers will be loyal to the developers, managed to earn a good reputation in this field.”

Anastasia Stepanova

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