Health and wellness apps—which number in the thousands—cover everything from tracking fertility to mapping your morning jog to monitoring your asthma.
Anything that helps you be more proactive about your health is a good thing, right?
The Danger Behind Health Apps
It turns out that these apps can hurt you in another way, The New York Times reports. A recent report from nonprofit Privacy Rights Clearinghouse that analyzed 43 popular health and wellness apps found that many of these apps connect directly to advertisers and data analysis sites without users’ knowledge.
That means all the personal info you surrender to the app in the name of improving your health—email address, height, weight, age, even your geographic location—could be sold to advertisers, who may then use it to send you targeted ads.
Additionally, very few of the apps encrypt the data they transmit—only 13% of free apps, and 10% of paid ones, do this—meaning that your private medical information could be on display. As a result, privacy risks for consumers are “considerable,” the report says, and you should assume that none of the information you input is actually private.