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Wacom tablets are sharing your app usage with Google Analytics

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Users can opt out in settings

Wacom tablets have been collecting data on what apps users open, and it’s not entirely clear what Wacom is doing with the data. Software engineer Robert Heaton writes in a detailed blog post that he discovered the behavior after setting up his tablet on his new laptop.

When Heaton was asked to accept Wacom’s privacy policy, he saw a message saying “aggregate usage data, technical session information, and information about [his] hardware device” would be shared with Google Analytics. Heaton explains how he created a proxy server to see what kind of data Wacom was collecting from his computer and found that Wacom was recording the name of every application that was opened.

While Google Analytics is widely used by developers and companies for data to understand its customers, it’s not clear why Wacom needs access to what applications users are accessing. “What requires more explanation is why Wacom think it’s acceptable to record every time I open a new application, including the time, a string that presumably uniquely identifies me, and the application’s name,” Heaton writes.

Heaton notes that he wasn’t the first to discover this section of Wacom’s privacy policy, as a Reddit post from last year notes that the privacy policy changed starting with the 6.3.27 driver update. “You gave your permission for this while installing the driver, but not when you were buying the tablet,” the post reads.

Users can opt out of the data collection by going to their settings in the Wacom Desktop Center —> clicking “More” on the top right corner —> Privacy Settings —> and selecting “off” in the “Participate Wacom Experience Program” box.

Wacom’s Twitter support reached out to Heaton to clarify that the information is being collected to “keep the computer safe from applications not downloaded from the App store.” This isn’t really an explanation for why the tablet needs to collect personal user information, though. We’ve reached out to Wacom for clarification on why this data is being collected.