Mobile phones are constant companions in modern life. More and more users rely on an increasing variety of mobile applications for everyday tasks – an app offers distraction during a long wait at the doctor's, reminds to take an often forgotten medication or monitors current fitness values. While enabling a variety of tasks, every single app has potential access to a multitude of user information. Mobile phones contain an astonishing diversity of personal facts from contacts, call data, calendars to messaging contents or intimate health data. Despite the potential risks, users are reportedly negligent when it comes to the control of apps' access permissions and tend to grant wide access rights without further scrutiny. Does this negligence cause personal information to be leaked to potentially malevolent actors? The presented assessment focuses on the privacy behavior of applications with a scope in user health and well-being, such as the above-mentioned pill reminder. These apps do not only require access to certain data on the mobile device, they also collect potentially sensitive data such as the frequency and type of medication the user wants to be reminded of. The paper at hand presents an analysis of mobile apps offering operational scope in the health sector. Covered elements are the apps' permission profile, their transmission behavior and their compliance with privacy regulation.
Anett Hoppe, Jenny Knackmuß, Maik Morgenstern, Reiner Creutzburg, "Privacy Issues in Mobile Health Applications - Assessment of Current Android Health Apps" in Proc. IS&T Int’l. Symp. on Electronic Imaging: Mobile Devices and Multimedia: Enabling Technologies, Algorithms, and Applications, 2017, pp 76 - 83, https://doi.org/10.2352/ISSN.2470-1173.2017.6.MOBMU-302