A study has revealed that nine out of 10 mobile applications based on health and fitness, collect and track user data.
The research published in the British medical journal examined 20,000 mobile health apps on the Google Play Store. The study revealed that such apps were asking users to disclose sensitive health information, such as step and calorie counters, symptom checkers, and menstruation trackers.
Additionally, 88% of such apps were tracking identifiers and cookies to track user activities on mobile devices.
At least 28% of health apps did not provide any sort of privacy statement on Google Play about what was being collected, which is against the store’s terms of service, the study added.
It also found that about two-thirds could collect advertising identifiers or cookies, one-third could collect a user’s email address, and about a quarter could identify the mobile phone tower to which a user’s device was connected.
The study added that only 4% of mobile health apps transmitted data to a third party – usually a user’s name and location information.
As of 2021, almost 2.87 million apps were available on the Google Play store alone.
Despite these statistics, researchers also found only 1.3% (3,609) of user reviews raised privacy concerns.
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