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A 'free' health app could mean your privacy is at risk

Consumer Reports reveals red flags, questions to ask about your apps

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Many of us use health apps -- from step trackers to weight loss programs -- and even apps that help you remember to take your medication. But, is your privacy being protected?

Consumer Reports warns that 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 good hard look before deciding whether to hand over your data or not. If your personal data gets out there, it could ultimately lead to workplace discrimination. Plus, it could affect whether you can get insurance or how much you’ll pay.

Another red flag with a free app is it's probably selling your personal data. It has to make money one way or the other.

Again, Consumer Reports says it's important to check the terms of service of the app so you know if your personal data is allowed to be shared.


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