Most depression and quit smoking apps send your data to Google or Facebook, but don't tell you

Embargoed until: Publicly released:

Australian and US researchers looked at 36 top-ranked apps for depression and smoking cessation and found 29 of them were transmitting data to Facebook or Google, but only 12 made that clear in a privacy policy. Behavioural-change apps are now being prescribed by doctors and other medical professionals, and it should be assumed that they are sharing data with the tech giants, say the authors. They recommend only prescribing apps that have been carefully scrutinised to make sure they are not sneakily sending all your data to Google and Facebook.

Journal/conference: JAMA Network Open

DOI: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.2542

Organisation/s: Black Dog Institute, The University of New South Wales

Media Release

From: JAMA

Study Examines Privacy Policies, Data Sharing of Popular Apps for Depression, Smoking Cessation

Bottom Line: This study looked at the privacy practices of popular apps for depression and smoking cessation. Researchers assessed the content of privacy policies and compared disclosures regarding data sharing with commercial third parties to actual behavior for 36 apps.


  • JAMA
    Web page
    The URL will go live after the embargo ends

News for:


Media contact details for this story are only visible to registered journalists.