Wacom drawing tablets track every app you open

But there's a way to disable it.
Written by Catalin Cimpanu, Contributor
Wacom drawing tablet
Image: Szabo Viktor

Wacom drawing tablets will track every app you open or close on your computer, Robert Heaton, a software engineer, has revealed.

Following a months-long investigation, Heaton says Wacom's official driver comes with a vague privacy policy that if accepted will begin tracking the apps a user opens on his device.

All the data is collected using a Google Analytics account, according to Heaton's investigation.

Wacom tablets are used by artists and other creatives to realistically draw on computers using a pen on a flat surface, but, as Heaton described it, the device "is essentially a mouse."

"A device that is essentially a mouse has no legitimate reasons to make HTTP requests of any sort," Heaton said.

"I suspect that Wacom doesn't really think that it's acceptable to record the name of every application I open on my personal laptop," he added.

"I suspect that this is why their privacy policy doesn't really admit that this is what that they do," Heaton said.

A way to disable it

The good news is that accepting the Wacom driver's privacy policy is not compulsory. Wacom users can decline to accept the policy and the driver would still install.

Further, users who already installed the driver can opt out of the policy at any time.

"I'm not about to incinerate my Wacom tablet and buy a different one. These things are expensive, and privacy is hard to put a price on," Heaton said.

"If you too have a Wacom tablet (presumably this tracking is enabled for all of their models), open up the 'Wacom Desktop Center' and click around until you find a way to disable the 'Wacom Experience Program'," he said.

"Then the next time you're buying a tablet, remember that Wacom tries to track every app you open, and consider giving another brand a go," Heaton added.

A Wacom spokesperson could not be reached for comment despite multiple attempts today.

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