Mental health app privacy language opens up holes for user data

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

In the world of mental health apps, privacy scandals have become almost routine. Every few months, reporting or research uncovers unscrupulous-seeming data sharing practices at apps like the Crisis Text Line, Talkspace, BetterHelp, and others: people gave information to those apps in hopes of feeling better, then it turns out their data was used in ways that help companies make money (and don’t help them).

It seems to me like a twisted game of whack-a-mole. When under scrutiny, the apps often change or adjust their policies — and then new apps or problems pop up. It isn’t just me: Mozilla researchers said this week that mental health apps have some of the worst privacy protections of any app category.

Watching the cycle over the past…

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Author: Nicole Wetsman