Health apps share unrecognized sensitive data with Facebook | TIME ONLINE


Research of the Wall Street Journals According to several apps unrecognized and without user demand share sensitive data Facebook, Among the apps, the popular App Flo Health, a virtual menstruation and ovulation calendar and calculator, the App HR Monitor (German: Instant heart rate), which measures the heart rate, and Realtor, a real estate app. The US newspaper reported that these apps automatically and sometimes within seconds shared data such as the heart rate or the location and price of real estate a user viewed with Facebook – regardless of whether the app user was using it his Facebook account in the app or even had a Facebook account. Users had no setting options in the apps to prevent the disclosure. The search results settled the Wall Street Journal from various cybersecurity companies.

The report tested about 70 apps with vulnerable users
Work on user data and are particularly popular in the iOS app store. From that
at least eleven have passed on such data. How much too
Android apps could do that Wall Street Journal do not figure it out. However, a separate test carried out by the company Defensive Lab Agency could have shown that the weight loss app BetterMe for Android immediately passed on to Facebook data on the size and weight of users.

Facebook did not deny the search results. A company spokeswoman said that Wall Street JournalSending some data, especially health and financial information, violates Group policies. Facebook would have told the app operators to stop sharing sensitive information. If that does not happen, additional measures could be taken.

Influenced election campaigns?

For the transmission of the information are according to the report the so-called Software development kits (SDK), which are software tools, most of which contain a variety of apps. Developers can program the SDKs to automatically pass on certain information – a purchase, for example, but also health data – to Facebook, where they can be used for targeted advertising. Neither Apple nor Google, the operators of the major app stores, require app developers to disclose who they share the information the app collects.

Data protection experts such as law professor Frederik J. Zuiderveen Borgesius from Radboud University in the Netherlands came to the conclusion that data sharing could violate European data protection law: "For sensitive data, companies always need to have their consent – probably both the app developer and Facebooks, "he told the newspaper. Facebook has also been in the criticism for a long time, because it is said to have shared data with the now insolvent analytics company Cambridge Analytica on a large scale. The should have tried to influence the last US election campaign. Only a few days ago, the Federal Cartel Office had decided that Facebook may merge data from various portals belonging to the group, WhatsApp or Instagram, only with the consent of its users.



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