Mar 21, 2019

Health apps pose 'unprecedented' privacy risks

Using popular health apps could mean private information about medical conditions is not kept confidential, researchers warn. Of 24 health apps in the BMJ study, 19 shared user data with companies, including Facebook, Google and Amazon. "The semi-persistent Android ID will uniquely identify a user within the Google universe, which has considerable scope and ability to aggregate highly diverse information about the user," the research team wrote in the BMJ. "These apps claim to offer tailored and cost-effective health promotion - but they pose unprecedented risk to consumers' privacy given their ability to collect user data, including sensitive information". Doctors need to warn patients about the threat to their privacy from using such apps. Regulators should consider that loss of privacy is not a fair cost for the use of digital health services.

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