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Questions over health apps data security

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Questions have been raised over health apps data security, as research indicates that some apps may be leaking data and sharing information without users really knowing about it.

Recent studies indicated that many health apps are sharing information with dozens of companies, including to marketing companies and digital advertising firms. Questions have been raised over whether the privacy policies for these apps are clear enough in explaining just how far the data they collect and share goes.

At the end of the day, when you download a health app, it’s for your personal use for monitoring your wellbeing or tracking your medication intake, as examples. Is it really fair to expect that your data will then be shared far and wide, and passed to companies for marketing purposes?

The health apps data security minefield

The findings read to me like it’s a minefield when it comes to health apps data security and their data sharing practices. Just how much do the users know about what happens to their data? Does anyone really understand how secure an app needs to be to protect your data?

I expect most people wouldn’t be able to determine this. We must remember that this is personal and sensitive medical data, and this isn’t a doctor or a healthcare professional you’re dealing with. The tech companies behind these apps don’t have to adhere to a doctor-patient confidentiality principle.

Medical data breach compensation claims are some of the most severe we help people with because of the nature of the information that is compromised.

These are things that the UK’s data watchdog, the Information Commissioner’s Office, are looking to come down hard on. The recent fine issued to Bounty who had been identified as one of the largest data sharers was pivotal. Some tech platforms like Facebook have previously withdrawn their connections with some apps after research indicated how poor their security was.

Should we be worried about health apps data security?

I think there’s every reason to be worried about health apps data security with the recent findings of this research and prior studies as well. Until we can be clear as to how well protected apps are, and how far the data they collect goes, how can we be assured?

Many people may simply assume that there’s nothing to worry about, but medical data can be valuable to both marketing firms and hackers. As a user, you need to know where your data is going, and you need to be assured that it’s in safe  hands.

What can you do if your data is misused?

If your data is misused, you may be able to make a claim for data breach or data leak compensation. Whether the issue is an app that has been hacked, or an app that has shared and processed your data illegal, you may have a case.

We do represent people claiming for health apps data security issues. One of the most famous app data breaches was the We-Vibe data breach issue, where the app for a ‘smart sex toy’ was sharing usage data without proper consent from the users. Although not a health app, this is an example of personal, sensitive and intimate data that was shared without proper consent, and we’re acting for a large group of victims who are claiming compensation with us.

IMPORTANT: advice on this page is intended to be up-to-date for the 'first published date'.

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Your privacy is extremely important to us. Information on how we handle your data is in our Privacy Policy.
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