Wacom apologizes for confusion regarding data collection

Wacom Tablet
Wacom Tablet (Image credit: Wacom)

What you need to know

  • Wacom has apologized over any confusion regarding data collection through Wacom Software
  • It says that the data collected through the Wacom Experience Program is for quality assurance and development only.
  • It also reiterated that the data is anonymous, unidentifiable and that users can opt-out at any time.

Wacom has responded to concerns regarding data collection and privacy after it emerged that Wacom's software drivers were reportedly found to track every Mac app that you open.

Earlier this week software engineer Robert Heaton revealed his own concerns about Wacom's privacy policy, and the fact that Wacom was recording each instance of him opening an application.

Wacom has since issued a blog post in response. You can read it in full below, however, the important bits are as follows:

  • Data collection is done by the Wacom software driver as part of the optional Wacom Experience Program.
  • Users can choose not to participate, and this has no impact on functional performance.
  • Wacom says it only collects data for "quality insurance and development purposes".
  • The data is collected through Google Analytics and sent to a GA server, not Wacom's server.
  • Wacom does not collect MAC addresses or product serial numbers.
  • Google Analytics (Apps version) does collect IP addresses, but Wacom can't see those.
  • Wacom has no access to any personal data from users.
  • Wacom is committed to protecting data privacy for all of its users, partners, and customers.

You can read the full statement below:

Wacom Experience Program

Over the past few days we have received many questions regarding data collection being done by the Wacom software driver as part of the optional Wacom Experience Program. We understand our users' concerns and want to fully explain this program and the type of data that users share if they decide to participate. When installing or updating a new Wacom driver, users can choose not to participate, which does not affect the functional performance of their driver or product. Anyone who participates can opt-out at any time by simply opening the Wacom Desktop Center, selecting "More" then the "Privacy Settings" and turning off the "Wacom Experience Program". All data is for Wacom anonymized and unidentifiable. We apologize for any confusion regarding data collection being done by the Wacom software driver and the unclarity about the actual information collected.The reason why Wacom collects data through its software driver is for quality insurance and development purposes only. In the following we will explain which data we collect and how it is being used. To continuously improve the Wacom user experience and to build products that better serve users' needs, we ask users when they install or update our driver if they would like to participate in the Wacom Experience Program. If a user agrees to participate, from time to time, the data is collected through Google Analytics and sent to Google Analytics' server, not Wacom's server. Wacom does not collect MAC addresses and product serial numbers. Although Google Analytics (Apps version) collects IP addresses, we are unable to access to such IP address data. To learn more about how Google Analytics anonymizes your data, please check this link.The Wacom software driver will collect a sample of information such as the pen tablet models, how customers use our hardware and the names of the software applications being used when a Wacom device is in use, and the Wacom Desktop Center and Wacom Tablet Properties control panel (Windows) or Wacom Tablet preferences pane (macOS) will collect basic app usage data. Our development and customer care teams could review across all aggregated users of a product, for instance, the most common function settings for pen buttons (e.g. "right click" or "undo") or the most frequently viewed tabs or selected links in the Wacom apps. We have no access to personal data. We cannot relate to any specific users as the data are anonymized and aggregated. We do not know who users are as individuals and cannot see what users are creating or doing in 3rd party software applications. The data collected in the Wacom Desktop Center, the Wacom Tablet Properties control panel or the Wacom Tablet preferences pane is only related to the pen input, ExpressKey settings and preferences only when using Wacom products.Wacom is committed to protect the data privacy of its users, partners and customers across all touch points. Our processes and policies are constantly monitored to reflect this. Please find Wacom's privacy policy here.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9