Software engineer Robert Heaton discovered that Wacom’s drawing tablets track the name of apps you open on your Mac along with the time and a string that could be used to identify you.
As if that weren’t enough, Wacom appears to be sending that captured information to Google Analytics. The problem is, this is all done without user consent.
Robert Heaton, writing on his blog:
Being a mostly-normal person, I never usually read privacy policies. Instead, I vigorously hammer the Yes button in an effort to reach the game, machine or medical advice on the other side of the agreement as fast as possible.
While we expect to eventually hear an apology or some kind or a reasonable explanation from Wacom, this won’t change the fact that this kind of data collection is unacceptable. The right way to do this would be to present the user with a prompt asking for their explicit permission.
Suppose that someone at Wacom ‘fingerprints’ a target person that they knew in real life by seeing that this person uses a very particular combination of applications. The Wacom employee then uses this fingerprint to find the person in the User Explorer tool. Finally the employee sees that their target also uses ‘LivingWith: Cancer Support.’
This is yet another reminder that our digital lives are spied upon, with vast amount of data collected without our knowledge. It’s been proven over and over again that even benign data like apps you launch on your device can be paired with other sources to track or identify us.
In Wacom’s example, Robert has found out that their data collection doesn’t include just the application’s name and the time, but also “a string that presumably uniquely identifies me”.
Fortunately, you can opt-out of Wacom’s tracking by launching the Wacom Desktop Center app, then disable the feature labeled with the text “Wacom Experience Program”.
How do you feel about Wacom’s data collection?
Let us know in the comments down below!