Many of the best mental health apps have serious cybersecurity flaws and privacy gaps, according to a Mozilla study.
In its latest Privacy Not Included report, the maker of the Firefox browser investigated the privacy and security features offered for a number of mental health and prayer apps, uncovering a disturbing number of issues.
Some of the apps studied, including big names such as headspace, Pray.com, Calm and Talkspace, had millions of users and app downloads, potentially putting many users at risk.
Not so restful
Mozilla analyzed 32 mental health and prayer apps, giving 29 of them a ‘privacy not included’ warning label, showing the report team had concerns about how the app used or managed user data.
Among the most common issues was extensive data collection, with many apps collecting large amounts of personal information about users. Although many of the apps studied pledged not to sell or pass this information on to third parties, Mozilla found that many actually did the opposite, raising significant privacy concerns.
Some of the worst offenders included Talkspace, which allegedly collects private therapy chat logs and uses personal information about users – including such “psychotherapy notes” – for marketing, targeted advertising and research purposes.
Calm, which is one of the most popular apps with millions of users on iOS and Android, not only collects large amounts of personal information, but Mozilla has also uncovered data from outside sources, as well as several monitoring and data collection tools. to target advertisements and share information with a number of third parties.
“The vast majority of mental health and prayer apps are exceptionally creepy,” said Jen Caltrider, manager of the Mozilla *Privacy Not Include Guide. The edge in a report. “They track, share and leverage users’ innermost personal thoughts and feelings, such as moods, mental state and biometrics.”
Mozilla notes that users should always read an app’s user information and privacy practices before deciding to sign up, especially when it comes to areas as important as mental health.
By the edge