Health apps ‘selling personal data to insurance and pharma firms’

Sep 2, 2013 | Mobile, Online advertising, Regulation

Health and fitness apps have been passing on user’s personal data to insurance and pharmaceutical companies, according to a new report. Privacy group Evidon claims that the top 20 health and wellness apps, including MapMyFitness, Web MD Healh and iPeriod, have been sending information to up to 70 third-party companies. According to a report in […]

Health and fitness apps have been passing on user’s personal data to insurance and pharmaceutical companies, according to a new report.


Privacy group Evidon claims that the top 20 health and wellness apps, including MapMyFitness, Web MD Healh and iPeriod, have been sending information to up to 70 third-party companies.
According to a report in the Financial Times, these third parties, primarily advertising and analytics companies, use the information gathered from consumers who are tracking diseases, diets, exercise routines and even menstrual cycles to build profiles and target ads.
Speaking to the FT, Jeff Chester, executive director of the Centre for Digital Democracy, said that it meant some of the “most sensitive details of your life” were available to others.
The apps companies, including Web MD, have denied that the information is personally identifiable or that it is being sold.
They added that the information was being used for site analysis and advertising within the apps, and companies are not allowed to combine the information with the gathered elsewhere.
Scott Mayer, chief executive of Evidon, said: “If there is a lot of content that is being provided to you for free, data are driving the economy of that content.”
Read the FT report here

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