As a result of theand efforts to reduce transmission in the U.S., telehealth services and in popularity. as addiction treatment facilities face budget cuts and closures, which has seen both investor and government interest turn to telehealth as a tool to combat the growing addiction crisis. A new investigation has found that several widely used opioid treatment recovery apps access and share sensitive user data with third parties. While people accessing these services may have a reasonable expectation of practices.
The report studied ten opioid treatmentBicycle Health, Boulder Care, and Confidant Health. DynamiCare Health, Kaden Health, Loosid, Pear Reset-O, PursueCare, Sober Grid, and Workit Health. These apps have been installed at least 180,000 times and have received more than $300 groups and the federal government. Despite these services’ vast reach and sensitive nature, the research found that most apps accessed unique identifiers about the user’s device and, in some cases, with third parties.
Seven of the ten apps studied access the Android Advertising ID (AAID), a user-generated identifier linked to other information to provide insights into identifiable individuals. Five of the apps also access the devices’ phone number; three access the device’s unique IMEI and IMSI numbers, which can also be used to identify a person’s device uniquely; and two access a users’ list of installed apps, which the researchers say can be used to build a “fingerprint” of a.
Many of the apps examined also obtain location information in some form, which strengthens the capability to surveil a person and their daily habits, behaviors, and interactions when correlated with these unique identifiers. One of the apps’ methods is through Bluetooth; seven apps request permission to make Bluetooth connections. The this is particularly worrying because this can be used to track users in real-world locations.
“Bluetooth can do what I call proximity tracking, so if you’re in the grocery store, it knows how long you’re in a certain aisle or how close you are to someone else,” Sean O’Brien, principal researcher at ExpressVPN’s Digital Security Lab who led the investigation, told TechCrunch. “Bluetooth is an area that I’m pretty concerned about.”
SDKs, or software development kits, are bundles of code with apps to make them work properly, such as collecting location data. Often, SDKs are provided for free in exchange for sending back the app’s cache data. Another central area of concern is the use of tracker SDKs in these apps, which O’Brien previously warned about in a recent investigation that revealed that hundreds ofto X-Mode, a data broker known to sell location data to U.S. military contractors, and now banned from both Apple and .