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Mozilla finds mental health apps fail ‘spectacularly’ at user security, data policies

An investigation into psychological well being and prayer apps has revealed a disturbing lack of concern surrounding person safety and privateness.

On Monday, Mozilla launched the findings of a brand new examine into these kinds of apps, which regularly cope with delicate subjects together with melancholy, psychological well being consciousness, nervousness, home violence, PTSD, and extra, alongside religion-themed providers.

In line with Mozilla’s newest *Privateness Not Included information, regardless of the deeply private data these apps handle, they “routinely share data, allow weak passwords, target vulnerable users with personalized ads, and feature vague and poorly written privacy policies.”

In a examine of 32 purposes geared towards psychological well being and faith, the group discovered that 25 of them didn’t meet Mozilla’s Minimal Safety Requirements.

These requirements act as a benchmark for the *Privateness Not Included stories. The mismanagement or unauthorized sharing and sale of person knowledge, imprecise knowledge administration insurance policies, a scarcity of encryption, weak password insurance policies, no clear vulnerability administration system, and different lax safety insurance policies can all downgrade a vendor product within the eyes of Mozilla.

If an app or service fails to fulfill these primary necessities, they’re slapped with the “*Privacy Not Included” warning label.

The psychological well being and prayer-related apps have obtained an accolade — however not one you’d covet. The corporate says:

“When it comes to protecting people’s privacy and security, mental health and prayer apps are worse than any other product category Mozilla researchers have reviewed over the past six years.”

The group examined apps together with Talkspace, Higher Assist, Calm, Glorify, 7 Cups, Wysa, Headspace, and Higher Cease Suicide. In consequence, every app now has a devoted house that may be accessed to search out out extra concerning the software program’s privateness and safety ranking.

For instance, Higher Cease Suicide, a suicide prevention app, failed Mozilla’s check.

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“Holy vague and messy privacy policy Batman! Better Stop Suicide’s privacy policy is bad,” Mozilla says. “Like, get a failing grade from your high school English teacher bad.”

Whereas the app gathers some private data and says that customers can attain out to them if they’ve additional queries, they didn’t reply to Mozilla’s makes an attempt at contact and didn’t point out who “trusted partners” had been when knowledge sharing.

Solely two purposes on the listing, PTSD Coach and the AI chatbot Wysa, appeared to take knowledge administration and person privateness critically.

“The vast majority of mental health and prayer apps are exceptionally creepy,” commented Jen Caltrider, Mozilla’s *Privateness Not Included lead. “They track, share, and capitalize on users’ most intimate personal thoughts and feelings, like moods, mental state, and biometric data. Turns out, researching mental health apps is not good for your mental health, as it reveals how negligent and craven these companies can be with our most intimate personal information.”

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