11 December 2019 10:28 UTC

Was recommended that I do some “mindfulness/meditation” so I started to look into some of the apps. The privacy policies are, quite frankly, terrifying (and not exactly helping me right now).

I looked at 7 of the most recommended “mindfulness” apps on iOS…

  • Some of them collect deeply personal information, though of course they claim it’s not personal/or is de-identified. Including: “how you interact with the app” (these apps are aimed at stressed/anxious people), “your heart rates”, your “mental, physical and emotional status’…
  • One privacy policy stated that they may enter into contracts with “mental health providers and health plans or health insurers, including, employer-sponsored health plans” and may collect and share information with their partners.
  • Others share your activity on the app with Facebook and Google. Some when you log in with those providers, others just do it by default.

I really feel for those who rely on these apps, because I get it when you’re having to balance your health/affordable forms of care with long-term privacy risks. And their privacy information is hidden away in a policy that no-one else is boring enough to read. It’s not fair.

Most of these apps are paid apps, they have a means to sustain their business. The kind of functionality offered does not require people’s incredibly personal information to be shared anywhere outside of their own devices. There is no excuse.

Please, if anyone knows of a privacy-respecting mindfulness app, let me know! (I’ve no idea what I’m doing with the mindfulness stuff, but will endeavour to keep an open mind.)

Posted to Twitter on 11 December 2019.