You Should Read the 'Fine Print' of Health and Fitness Apps: Experts - NBC 6 South Florida
NBC 6 Responds

NBC 6 Responds

Responding to every consumer complaint

You Should Read the 'Fine Print' of Health and Fitness Apps: Experts



    You Should Read the Fine Print of Health Fitness Apps

    Health-related apps come with benefits, but experts warn consumers that there could also be some downsides. Consumer Investigator Sasha Jones breaks down what you can do to help increase security and protect your privacy.

    (Published Monday, Sept. 30, 2019)

    From step trackers to weight loss programs, people are using their smart phone apps to track their health-related issues. Experts are warning of some potential downsides of not reading the “Fine Print” before sharing personal information.

    Maureen Tsuchida, like many others, turned to health-related apps because they are quick and convenient.

    “I put everything from blood work to immunization records, to medication, to eyeglasses, to checkups. I’ve really become very dependent on it,” Tsuchida said.

    Health and medical apps can help keep track of your family’s medical profiles.

    Property Tax Mix-Up

    [MI] Property Tax Mix-Up
    Some first-time home buyers thought they did everything right when they closed on their home, but a year after moving in, they got a notice saying they were late on their property taxes.
    (Published Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019)

    Tsuchida is a tech blogger and knows that even the most secure apps can be compromised, so she is sure to read the fine print and to make sure her information is not being stored on a remote server.

    “For certain medical apps, I make sure that it’s not being backed up somewhere else,” Tsuchida said.

    That’s just one of the ways consumers can safeguard their personal health information.

    More Victims Sue Conagra Over Exploding Cans of Pam

    [MI] More Victims Sue Conagra Over Exploding Cans of Pam

    Seventeen new lawsuits were filed against the maker of Pam cooking spray, as victims say they were severely injured when cans exploded in their kitchens.

    (Published Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019)

    “There are tons of benefits of using these applications, however, you have to be aware of the privacy and security risks,” Dr. Lina Bouayad said.

    Assistant Professor in the College of Business at Florida International University, Dr. Lina Bouayad says the technological advances are making it possible to share your entire health file with app.

    “It can connect you to patients like yourself, it can find you the best provider for your condition, the lowest cost for treatment possible, so all of these are benefits that you can get from those apps,” Bouayad said.

    Miami Beach Company Fined For 'Certified Organic' Claim

    [MI] Miami Beach Company Fined For 'Certified Organic' Claim

    Truly Organic Inc. says their products were organic luxury products on advertisements posted online, but the Federal Trade Commission says that’s not true.

    (Published Friday, Sept. 27, 2019)

    Unlike hospitals and doctors, that by law must protect this information, apps, and technology companies don’t have to follow the same rules.

    “Once the user provides consent, once they allow sharing of the information, then the app can basically share that data to whomever they choose to,” Bouayad said.

    She says you should read the terms and conditions of an app. She advises consumers to select apps that are transparent about the type of health information they collect and how it is used and to be certain the apps you choose has built-in security measures like encoding stored and transmitted data.

    Experts also warn that you should be leery of free apps.

    “They’re probably selling your personal data. After all, they have to make money one way or the other,” said Consumer Reports Tech Editor Bree Fowler.

    Bree Fowler with Consumer Reports says there could be unforeseen issues.

    “We recommend taking a good hard look before deciding whether to hand over your data or not. We’re concerned that if your personal data gets out there it could ultimately lead to workplace discrimination,” Fowler said.

    As for Maureen, she says she’ll be more vigilant when using health apps.

    “I have not only my information but my son’s information too,” Tsuchida said.

    Consumer Reports also says to check the terms of service of the app and whether the app is asking for permission to access your contacts or photos or allows it to share your data with third parties.