“Such information includes aggregate usage data, technical session information and information about Your hardware device.”
“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.”
Fortunately, this behavior can be stopped by the end user. Heaton has some advice for Wacom drawing tablet users, as well as instructions for how to turn off this anti-privacy functionality:
“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”. 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.”
Privacy violations are out there, just waiting to be discovered
Wacom has been violating its users’ privacy for years, and it’s only in 2020 that this was revealed to the wider community – in no small part thanks to the original whistleblower: Robert Heaton. Robert Heaton has since made an impassioned open call for any user of any software or hardware that has suspicions that the device or software might be violating their privacy to send a privacy tip-off to him. While privacy conscious users of Wacom drawing tablets may need to go back to the proverbial drawing board to decide what drawing software and hardware to use in light of this revelation, it’s the thought of people deciding this is normal that gives me pause. How many of Wacom’s users will hear this news and decide a log of every app they use is an acceptable trade off for using a drawing tablet which they’ve already paid for? Companies need to care about privacy from the ground up – and the more noise we as users can make in opposition of such anti-privacy actions, the more likely that is to come to fruition. It’s a long road, but we’ll get there.