Health app privacy

Data pix.

Relying on smartphone apps for health-related concerns is almost a matter of course these days, from step trackers to weight-loss programs, even those that help you remember to take your medication. But how do you know whether your privacy is protected? Consumer Reports explains what to look for to safeguard your personal information.

By law, doctors and hospitals have to protect your information and keep it private. But the same rules don’t necessarily apply to health apps.

Consumer Reports says it’s a good idea to ask the following: Is the app asking for permission to access your contacts or photos? Do the terms of service allow it to share your data with third parties?

If the answer to those questions is yes, Consumer Reports recommends taking a closer look before deciding whether to hand over your data. If it gets out there, it could affect whether you can get insurance or how much you’ll pay for it. It might even lead to employment discrimination.

Be careful with free apps, because they probably sell personal data. It’s a way for them to make money.

All Consumer Reports material Copyright 2019 Consumer Reports, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Consumer Reports is a not-for-profit organization which accepts no advertising. It has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site. For more information visit consumerreports.org.

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