When it comes to privacy and data transparency, smoking cessation and depression apps fall short, according to a new study published in JAMA this morning. The study, which zeroed in on 36 apps, found that 33 of those apps transmitted data to a third party. However, 17 of those apps either lacked a privacy policy, failed to disclose the transmission policy in text or said that the transmission wouldnt occur.Our data highlight that, without sustained and technical efforts to audit actual data transmissions, relying solely on either self-certification or policy audit may fail to detect important privacy risks, authors of the study wrote. The emergence of a services landscape in which a small number of commercial entities broker data for large numbers of health apps underlines both the dynamic nature of app privacy issues and the need for continuing technical surveillance for novel privacy risks if users and health care professionals are to be offered timely and reliable guidance.”

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