LinkedIn says iOS clipboard snooping after every key press is a bug, will fix

The new clipboard access detection and warning feature in iOS 14 exposes another app.
Written by Catalin Cimpanu, Contributor
Social media icons on smart phone screen.
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A LinkedIn spokesperson told ZDNet yesterday that a bug in the company's iOS app was responsible for a seemingly privacy-intrusive behavior spotted by one of its users on Thursday.

The issue was discovered using the new beta version of iOS 14.

For iOS 14, set to be officially released in the fall, Apple has added a new privacy feature that shows a quick popup that lets users know when an app has read content from their clipboard.

Using this new mechanism, users spotted last week how Chinese mobile app TikTok was reading content from their clipboard at regular short intervals.

TikTok said the feature was part of a fraud detection mechanism and that the company never stole the clipboard content, but promised to remove the behavior anyway, to put users' minds at ease.

This week, users continued experimenting with this new iOS 14 clipboard access detection system. Yesterday, a developer from the portfolio-building portal Urspace.io discovered a similar mechanism in the LinkedIn iOS app.

In a video shared on Twitter, the Urspace developer showed how LinkedIn's app was reading the clipboard content after every user key press, even accessing the shared clipboard feature that allows iOS apps to read content from a user's macOS clipboard.

After ZDNet reached out for comment to LinkedIn last night, a LinkedIn spokesperson told us the behavior was a bug, and not intended behavior.

Erran Berger, VP Engineering of Consumer Products at LinkedIn, also reached out on Twitter to clarify the issue and promised a fix.

"We've traced this to a code path that only does an equality check between the clipboard contents and the currently typed content in a text box," Berger wrote on Twitter.

"We don't store or transmit the clipboard contents. We will follow up once the fix is live in our app," he added.

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