mHealth (Mobile Health) applications (apps) have transformed the doctor-patient relationship. They help users with varied functionalities such as monitoring their health, understanding specific health conditions, consulting doctors online and achieving fitness goals. Whilst these apps provide an option of equitable and convenient access to healthcare, a lot of personal and sensitive data about users is collected, stored and shared to achieve these functionalities. Little is known about the privacy and security concerns these apps address. Based on literature review, this paper identifies the privacy risks and security features for evaluating thirty apps in the Medical category across two app distribution platforms in India namely Google Play and App Store. Factors identified through the review formed a basis of the scoring model which helped to arrive at the ‘Privacy Risk Score’ and ‘Safety Score’ for each app. A comparative analysis of the selected apps was performed by studying their privacy policies. The results indicate that adopting these apps pose a risk. Finally, recommendations are provided to consumers such as examining the app before downloading it, customizing the app settings, and to developers to develop robust and transparent privacy policies.
Sampat, Brinda Hansraj and Prabhakar, Bala
"Privacy Risks and Security Threats in mHealth apps,"
Journal of International Technology and Information Management: Vol. 26:
4, Article 5.
Available at: https://scholarworks.lib.csusb.edu/jitim/vol26/iss4/5
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