Watch out: Your private health app data may impact your credit report

Image result for Watch out: Your private health app data may impact your credit reportIt’s a sad fact of our late capitalist world that data is one of the hottest currencies. Every move you make online–and sometimes off, too!–is likely being tracked in some way and then sold to the highest bidder. New research shows that even health apps, which often store users’ most personal information, are also sharing the data they collect. To make matters worse, for many of these programs, it’s simply impossible to opt out.

The study was performed by a team of researchers in Australia, Canada, and the U.S., reports Gizmodo. They decided to download 24 of the most popular health-related apps on Android. For each app, the team made four fake profiles and each used the programs 14 times. On the 15th time, they slightly changed the information they provided to the apps and tracked if the network traffic changed. This way, the researchers were able to see if the apps shared the data change, as well as where they shared it.

The findings were depressing. Writes Gizmodo:

Overall, they found 79 percent of apps, including [popular apps Medscape, Ada, and Drugs.com], shared at least some user data outside of the app itself. While some of the unique entities that had access to the data used it to improve the app’s functions, like maintaining the cloud where data could be uploaded by users or handling error reports, others were likely using it to create tailored advertisements for other companies. When looking at these third parties, the researchers also found that many marketed their ability to bundle together user data and share it with fourth-party companies even further removed from the health industry, such as credit reporting agencies. And while this data is said to be made completely anonymous and de-identified, the authors found that certain companies were given enough data to easily piece together the identity of users if they wanted to.

Essentially, most of the apps were sharing the data users’ input in some capacity, and often that information was shared once again with another entity. Sometimes the data would be used for advertising, other times for something related to credit reporting. (According to the study, only one credit reporting agency had an agreement with a third party: Equifax. Of course, it’s not terribly comforting that the company had one of the largest hacks in recent memory.)


 

The sad part is that these findings aren’t terribly surprising, nor are they illegal. Most apps broker user data in some capacity. Usually they use it for marketing and advertising, yet, as the credit report agency example shows, the data could be shared with truly anyone for myriad purposes. While third parties claim to anonymize the data, it’s been repeatedly proven that it can easily be re-identified.

As for disclosure, the companies behind these apps likely tell users in legalese that they share data with third parties. Every app has a privacy policy, but they are usually designed so that people glaze over the words and reflexively click “accept.” Meanwhile, this study found that all of the apps that shared data made it impossible to opt out.

The two real lessons from studies like these are that users of digital health programs need to be vigilant with the programs they use. It’s possible to protect your data, but it takes a lot of homework. But most of all, there needs to be a heightened call to protect consumers from these predatory practices.

Today, we dig deeper into your health privacy as part of our series The Privacy Divide, and find that what you don’t know about your health data could make you sick.

[“source=fastcompany”]

Out of phone storage? Five Android apps that help you clean up space, make phone snappy

There are a number of apps that can help you do more with the existing storage of your phone

By Zia Askari

Let’s face it, we all hate to wake up and find there is little space in the internal memory of our mobile phone. Whether you have a device that carries 16GB internal storage or 128GB of storage, it becomes a daunting task to optimise the performance of storage in your device, more so for a not-so-tech-savvy person. There are a number of apps that can help you do more with the existing storage of your phone such as organising files in a better manner, compressing files, and managing duplicate content on the device. We take a look at five Android apps that can help you organise storage in an efficient manner.

Astro File Browser
Astro File Browser is one of the oldest file manager apps that have been designed to help manage storage in a simplistic and yet effective manner. Some of the important features of this app include support on cloud storage, SD card support, file compression, app management. This app also provides archive extraction support.

File Manager
As simple as it may sound, File Manager is another good app that can help you manage your storage quite efficiently without adding too much of pressure on your computing resources. This app provides basic file management features along with cloud storage.
You can browse your installed apps, photos, audio, video and downloads, etc., with this app.

Clean Master
Clean Master is a widely used app because of its seamless storage cleaning capabilities. It lets you clean the app cache, residual files, history within the apps and many other junk files which pile up after you start using apps in your device. The most important factor contributing to the success of this app is the fact that this does not cause battery drainage.

Total Commander
Total Commander is one of the most powerful storage management apps on Play Store. It comes with a number of interesting features such as network storage, cloud storage support, book marks, plugin support, and also comes with an included text editor.

X-Plore File Manager
Yet another innovative storage management app, this delivers a unique interface in the form of dual panes—which means that you will be managing two windows at once pretty much all the time. This helps if you need to copy/paste between folders or need to move files quickly between two folders. This app also comes with support for various types of files, network storage, cloud storage, network storage (FTP, DLNA/UPnP), root support, and other features.

Duplicate Media Remover
Most of the time, unknowingly, we all have a lot of duplicate content in the form of pictures, voice files and videos occupying our precious internal memory space. This app can help you scan, find and remove all similar files including audio, videos, images and other files and manage your phone storage quite effectively. It provides options to select folders and to find and remove identical files between them. Using this tool, you can schedule scans on a weekly basis where it will scan device as per your convenience and help you manage your storage in an easy manner.

[“source=financialexpress”]

‘I lucked out a bit’ – UK skier James Woods wins first world title

James Woods

James Woods on his way to gold at the FIS World Championships. Photograph: Jeff Swinger/EPA

Great Britain’s James Woods has been crowned world champion for the first time after winning the men’s ski slopestyle competition in Utah.

The 27-year-old defied difficult weather conditions to edge out Norwegian teenager Birk Ruud and US double Olympic medallist Nick Goepper.

Woods said: “It feels good. Obviously I couldn’t be more proud. I’ve put a lot of effort in over the years as everybody has.”

“It was a bit of a wild day to be honest with you,” Woods added. “We’re hanging off the side of a mountain here – judging the weather conditions, assessing the wind, knowing what the snow is doing. Today was a pretty close call whether it was going to be fair. I only care whether conditions are fair and everybody’s safe. I lucked out a little bit, but you’ve got to take it haven’t you?”

Woods had previously won a world silver medal in Voss in 2013 and bronze at Sierra Nevada in 2017. And victory was especially sweet for the Sheffield star who missed out on a Winter Olympic medal in Pyeongchang last year by just 1.2 points.

james woods
FacebookTwitterPinterest
 James Woods on the podium following the men’s slopestyle worldc hampionship race. Photograph: Rick Bowmer/AP

Woods had looked set to snatch a podium place in South Korea until Goepper edged him out with the final run of the competition.

Woods’s medal is Britain’s third of the championships after Charlotte Bankes and Izzy Atkin took silver and bronze in snowboard-cross and Ski Big Air, respectively.

[“source=theguardian”]

Near-total hartal throws life out of gear

 

KSRTC buses remained at the Central Depot at Thampanoor on Tuesday owing to the BJP hartal | B P Deepu

By Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The dawn-to-dusk hartal called by BJP district committee in protest against the alleged police high handedness on some activists in a Secretariat march disrupted the normal life in the capital. However, the hartal was peaceful and near total except some minor skirmishes at Neyyattinkara in the outskirts of the city.  The strike affected the functioning of government offices.

Schools and colleges remained closed while the Secretariat functioned with a thin attendance. Banks and commercial establishments remained closed too. The BJP had conducted a march towards the Secretariat on Tuesday in protest against the police action. A woman activist was injured after she was hit by a tear gas shell during the march.

The 23rd IFFK was conducted as usual, but the inflow of delegates was less compared to other days. The transportation of delegates was a problem as they had to walk towards the venues. The Kerala State Chalachitra Academy had also arranged food for delegates in association with State Prisons Department.
According to the police, no major acts of violence were reported as the KSRTC buses and private buses decided to keep off the road. However, train services were not disrupted.

Normal life hit
Schools and colleges remained closed while the Secretariat functioned with a thin attendance. The inflow of delegates was less compared to other days at the IFFK. According to the police, no major acts of violence were reported

[“source=forbes]