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Mental Health Apps Found Sharing User Data With Advertisers

Is Your personal data is being shared without your consent?

According to recent estimates, it has been found that mental health apps track the users’ data and shared it without permission. Health apps usually contain the major and vital information of the users and are being trusted for keeping it safe. But it appears that data racket is being on when talking about Mental health apps and the data they hold of a user.

JAMA Network Open reveals that mental health apps is going on with data rackets and is sharing the users’ data with the big advertisers, without even user being known of that. Out of the 36 observed apps, 33 apps share the information of users with the advertisers’ network from Facebook to Google as well as smaller companies. though the information is not personally identifiable still it is a matter of concern.

“It’s really hard to make an informed decision about using an app if you don’t even know who’s going to get access to some information about you,” said John Torous, a co-author of the study. The study also shows that some of the apps are really hazardous as they share information like health diary entries and self-reports about substance abuse.

In total, the study found that 92 per cent of the studied apps shared data with a third party and that around half of them did not disclose that practice to the end user. Only 3 apps claim that they won’t share data while the other nine do not even have a privacy policy at all. Potentially advertisers could use this to compromise someone’s privacy and sway their treatment decisions.”

“Data sharing with third parties that includes linkable identifiers is prevalent and focused on services provided by Google and Facebook. Despite this, most apps offer users no way to anticipate that data will be shared in this way. As a result, users are denied an informed choice about whether such sharing is acceptable to them,”

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