Now Reading
Apps approved by NHS Leaking Personal Data

Apps approved by NHS Leaking Personal Data

by Ali RazaOctober 2, 2015

Apps approved by NHS leaking personal DataSome apps approved by England’s National Health Service have found to be leaking personal information about users online according to a study. The study was done by a group of individuals from the Imperial College of London and their results showed that the apps they tested leaked ID data, reported by BBC

The NHS was founded in 1948 after a legislation bill was passed in 1946, 47, and 48. It includes all four Health Services of the United Kingdom pertaining to the four countries England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland. These services were established to provide people better health care facilities and continue to do just that. Most of the services from the vast array of health care services provided by NHS are free to use by people legally living in the UK.

NHS provides health apps to users on their smartphones to help them maintain their health. These apps relate to topics like helping people quit smoking, lose weight, etc. As one can imagine, such apps contain the personal as well as health data of the users who use them.

Although protocols and mechanisms are present to ensure that these apps are safe to use, a study has revealed that these apps sent data without encrypting it, violating the privacy of a user.

The study was done by Kit Huckvale, a PhD student at Imperial College London, and some of his colleagues. The researchers tested about 79 apps from NHS England’s Health Apps Library over a period of six months. They aimed at testing the efficiency of the apps by sending them fake data and monitoring how they handled it.

To their surprise, they found that 70 of those apps sent personal data of users to online services associated with the app and 23 of those did so without even encrypting the data. Four apps even sent both personal and health data without taking necessary precautions to protect it from eavesdroppers. The privacy policy of the apps was not clear and the data they shared was about a person’s identity or his phone.

NHS England responded to the study by saying that they were aware that some apps were not maintaining the necessary precautions for keeping customers’ data confidential. They said that such apps were being deleted and the developers were being notified about the shortcomings of their apps, urging them to make amends.

We were made aware of some issues with some of the featured apps and took action to either remove them or contact the developers to insist they were updated. A new, more thorough NHS endorsement model for apps has begun piloting this month.

Image from FrancisTyers / Wikipedia and BasPhoto / Shutterstock.

Advertised sites are not endorsed by us. They may be unsafe, untrustworthy, or illegal in your jurisdiction.
What's your reaction?
Love it
Hate it