If you are keen on being fit, you may be using a health or fitness-tracking app to keep track of your health improvements or check on your jogging or fitness progress.
These specific apps are now under scrutiny for privacy issues in a burgeoning health apps market, with a report claiming that 20 of the most popular apps are sharing their users’ data with nearly 70 advertising and analytics companies.
The study was conducted by Evidon for the Financial Times, covering apps such as MapMyRun, Lose It! and Period Tracker, noting that MapMyrun shares data with 11 third-party companies. The latter, primarily advertising and analytics companies, use the information gathered from consumers who are tracking diseases, diets, exercise activities and even menstrual cycles to build profiles and target ads, the FT reported
Not only do these aps use your data for advertising matters. Health-tracking apps are going global, being used by more than 10 millions of people who don’t even know about this. They may feel concern and wonder why they would keep on using such apps exploiting their personal data.
But some insurance companies like Humana and Aetna are going indeed further, signing partnerships with health app developers. The CarePass company explained when launching its service in June, that its partners included some of the biggest names in the health apps market: MapMyFitness, RunKeeper, Fitbit, Withings and others, combining more than 100m downloads. So when people sign up for CarePass, they choose by themselves which apps to connect to it. Insurance firms should realize that their customers will become more concerned about how their data are used.
Big data has major implications for the insurance industry. For instance, some companies have launched apps that track people’s driving with the promise of lowering their insurance payments if they drive carefully, for example. The Financial Times’ report is a reminder of how much our digital data are being monitored and tracked.
App developers should be as transparent as possible with their users about how their data is being shared, with platforms such as Apple, Google and Microsoft also having their responsibility linked to this.
Be careful on the data you leave on the Internet, as free Apps may imply that you are the product ! Use a VPN to encrypt all of your communications and data transfer on the Internet, even when using these apps on your mobile. Thus, no one can analyze your browsing information and can no longer offer you ads based on your personal data. In addition, targeted advertising also uses geolocation to increase its effectiveness. With a VPN, you can easily change your IP address by selecting a hosting country between several servers worldwide. The VPN allows you to hide both your personal information and your country. Your connection is made reliable and anonymous, and you can stay free on the Internet, away from prying eyes.