Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Is Grammarly a Keylogger?

Jason Meller (via Hacker News):

The problem, it seems, is that Grammarly is only willing to perform this magic trick on their cloud. That means, the text you enter into an app when the Grammarly widget is visible is sent to them.


Grammarly does not record every keystroke you make on your device. Grammarly accesses only the text you write when you are actively using a Grammarly product offering[…]

Jason Meller:

In my reading, Grammarly heavily implies that users have a fair degree of control over what Grammarly can access. But in practice, this is very misleading. Let me show you why.


Grammarly parsed and marked up my document without me typing a single keystroke. All I needed to do was bring the window into the foreground. This makes sense; Grammarly would not be easy to use if it could only provide grammar advice on the documents and words you typed when it was running. I’m not even sure how much Grammarly even cares about the keystrokes you’re typing; if it can read what was written previously, it does not need to.


As a rule, Grammarly employees do not monitor or view your User Content stored in or transferred through our Site, Software, and/or Services, but it may be viewed if we believe the Terms of Service have been violated and confirmation is required, if we need to do so to respond to your requests for support, if we otherwise determine that we have an obligation to review it as described in the Terms of Service, or to improve our algorithms[…]

This is completely unsurprising for a server-based product. But I doubt that most customers realize that the contents of nearly every text field on their Mac is being uploaded and stored in the cloud.


Update (2022-05-09): Thomas Reed:

If we were to call Grammarly a keylogger, we’d also have to call Siri a wire tapper, since it captures audio and (on older devices/systems) sends it to Apple’s servers for processing. Some people may not be comfortable using Siri, but it’s definitely not a PUP.

2 Comments RSS · Twitter

>This is completely unsurprising for a server-based product.

indeed. the target audience for that blogpost already expects this to happen, and you'll never reach (let alone convince) anyone else.

It would be interesting to know how long Grammarly keeps text. Presumably it uses the files to teach the system, does it hang on to the material for ever?

Leave a Comment