The Mozilla Foundation has recently published its ‘*Privacy Not Included’ guide, underlining potential serious privacy and security issues with most mental health and prayer apps.
While very popular, health and prayer apps deal with and store important information about the users. What happens with that info is just as important, and it requires app developers to make sure private data is secure.
Many of these apps are used by people suffering serious problems, such as depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, PTSD, etc. In some cases, companies collect precious data and share it with third parties, or they allow the use of weak passwords, making them a prime target for security breaches.
“The vast majority of mental health and prayer apps are exceptionally creepy,” said Jen Caltrider, Mozilla’s *Privacy Not Included lead researcher. “They track, share, and capitalize on users’ most intimate personal thoughts and feelings, like moods, mental state, and biometric data.”
“Turns out, researching mental health apps is not good for your mental health, as it reveals how negligent and craven these companies can be with our most intimate personal information.”
The problems aren’t limited to just security issues. Mozilla identified six worst offenders, which often employ vague and messy privacy policies, not to mention sharing collected data and even chat transcripts.
Also, some companies either take a long time to respond or never reply to emails. Making matters worse, some apps actually collect data from other third-party platforms, such as Facebook.
Finally, Mozilla looked at some of the security requirements and found that many apps allowed weak passwords, and many companies had no way to manage security vulnerabilities found in their apps.
Mozilla’s ‘*Privacy Not’ Included guide provides more information on each investigated app, including the exact reasons they’re on that list.
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