LinkedIn blames 'bug' for iOS clipboard snooping

Despite still being in beta, iOS 14 is proving useful for spotting companies that invade user privacy

LinkedIn has said that a bug in its iOS app is responsible for an issue that saw it access iPhone users' clipboard data. 

The CEO of career portfolio website builder Urspace, Dan Morton, spotted the glitch while using the new beta version of iOS 14

Apple added a privacy feature to iOS 14 that shows users a message when another app has read content from their clipboard. Users have already spotted the Chinese mobile app TikTok reading their content and, more recently, LinkedIn. 

"LinkedIn is copying the contents of my clipboard every keystroke," Morton posted on Twitter. "IOS 14 allows users to see each paste notification. I'm on an IPad Pro and it's copying from the clipboard of my MacBook Pro. Tik Tok just got called out for this exact reason."

LinkedIn's VP of engineering for consumer products, Erran Berger, responded to the tweet by suggesting it was down to a faulty code path.

"Hi @DonCubed. Appreciate you raising this," he wrote. "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. We don't store or transmit the clipboard contents."

Expanding on his findings in a blog post called "Please leave our clipboards alone", Morton explained the danger with this type of privacy invasion.

"Our clipboards go through and see a lot," he wrote. "Passwords, bank account information, credit cards, private crypto keys, etc.

"Over the past week, IOS 14 has given us some insight into what apps are doing behind the scenes. The new operating system (which is still in beta), will notify you every time your clipboard is accessed. Yesterday, I tweeted calling out Microsoft's LinkedIn showing that it was accessing my clipboard every keystroke.

IT Pro has approached LinkedIn for more details. 

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