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From the Pages of Orlando Weekly: The Implications Of Health Data Sharing Can Go Far Beyond Targeted Ads

Image: Google Play and Apple App store logos
Image: Google Play and Apple App store logos

You lock your home when you leave. You probably don't share your deepest secrets with random strangers. And if someone knocked on your door and asked if you were ovulating, you'd tell them to get lost.

Yet, as a smartphone user, you're likely sharing highly personal information with total strangers every minute – strangers whose main focus is to convert every element of your behavior into money.

Information collected by your doctor is protected by law, but HIPAA law doesn't apply to software you use to track your health. Mobile apps that track pregnancy, periods, dieting, exercise, even mental health – all of the data is for sale.

The implications of health information sharing go far beyond targeted ads. Some employer health plans offer health-tracking apps and give a discount to employees who use them. But privacy advocates warn that insurers could decide to charge you more based on your recorded actions, and your employer could see details like whether you're trying to get pregnant or whether you told a mobile therapy app about risky behaviors.

We give out our private information in order to use convenient, and largely free, apps. But we're only now understanding the true costs.