Monday, 24 September, 2018

Your smartphone could be recording your screen, claims study

Research shows Facebook (probably) isn’t listening through your phone Research claims some mobile apps are secretly recording your screen
Cecil Davis | 05 July, 2018, 23:21

But recently, a group of researchers has debunked the mass following conspiracy theory. After a year of testing, folks from Northeastern University allege that smartphone manufacturers and apps installed on your phone are not listening into your conversations covertly, nor are they sending data to unknown remote servers without your knowledge. "This can occur without needing any permissions from the user", the study reads.

As reported by Gizmodo, researchers Elleen Pan, Jingjing Ren, Martina Lindorfer, Christo Wilson, and David Choffnes studied more than 17,000 apps, including ones from Facebook and those that send information to Facebook, to see if any of them were capturing audio via Android phone microphones. The theory has become so popular because users frequently say that they have conversations in real life mentioning a product, only to have an ad for that product appear on Facebook later. They attributed this possibility to a limitation of the research that an automated system can not create usernames or sign in like humans.

While the study concluded that there was no proof that users' conversations were recorded, over 9,000 apps had the potential to do so thanks to access granted to the camera and microphone.

Considering these limitations, these researchers found no solid evidence of snooping, and the apps never really acted shady and activated the microphone for recording audio without the user's knowledge. "We also identify a previously unreported privacy risk that arises from third party libraries that record and upload screenshots and videos of the screen without informing the user". An example of one such app is GoPuff, which is a Deliveroo-type service that specializes in sweet and salty snacks.

Georgia QB Fromm breaks non-throwing hand
Dawgs247 reports Fromm won't miss any time due to the injury and he is expected to be with his team for the rest of summer. It is a small fracture in his left hand, suffered when Fromm was on a boat earlier this week.

Indeed, AppSee advertises itself as a way to keep tabs on an app's users.

In one example, Gizmodo reported, the popular USA delivery app GoPuff recorded and sent screen recordings to a mobile analytics company called AppSee. However, this was not disclosed in GoPuff's privacy policy, raising security concerns. Now, the bad news: They're doing something equally, if not more, creepy: recording your screen.

Meanwhile, as per the report, Appsee believes that this is a slip-up on the part of GoPuff. A spokesperson also informed Gizmodo that the AppSee SDK has been removed from GoPuff's Android and iOS apps with the latest update.

"On the one hand, this is good news: a very large fraction of apps are not abusing the ability to record media", the study said. The app had no mention of this functionality in its privacy policy.