Researchers Warn About the Data Sharing by Popular Health Apps

Almost every internet user is aware of the fact that nothing remains private; let it be any platform like social media, apps, or search engines. A new study justifies the same, the so-called most sensitive information of people. The new research, published by the British Medical Journal, says the data from personal health apps are regularly shared with third parties. Out of 24 apps, 19 shared user information with companies like Facebook, Google, and Amazon. The study warns the sensitive data could be passed to other organizations to target advertising. Thus the new research focuses on the hidden privacy risks of adding delicate health information into a smartphone.

Notably, those medical apps are hungry to collect user data, but only a few notify their users about illegal collection and sharing. Researchers in the U.S., Canada, and Australia worked together for the analysis. As a part of the study, they created four fake accounts that used each of the 24 apps. They used those apps many times, to notice the network traffic. They saw that the apps shared collected data with third companies. As a result, the study reveals mobile health apps are boosting market aimed at both patients and health experts.

Out of the 24 apps, most of them, around 79%, involved in data sharing practices. The group of apps includes some of the favorite Android apps like Medscape, MecineWise, and Ada. Researchers say these apps assert to offer customized and low-cost health promotions. But they give rise to an unprecedented risk to users’ privacy. While the apps studied and shared a crucial part of the information. They shared medical information like the list of drugs taken by a patient, their name along with the medical condition. Many companies like drug manufacturers and insurance companies are seeking to purchase this type of data. The study says they can quickly identify users by piecing together data such as smartphones IMEI number. The researchers conclude it is necessary to warn people about the risk of privacy.

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Jason Amato

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