Mozilla says that some mental health and prayer apps have serious privacy issues

May 3, 2022

Mozilla has released a report after analyzing various mental health apps and prayer apps. The results aren't nice, these apps are spying on users and selling personal data to third parties.

Mozilla says that mental health and prayer apps have serious privacy issues

The research conducted by the Mozilla Foundation scrutinized 32 apps in order to find out what kind of privacy policies they practice. Shockingly, 28 of these apps were given the "Privacy Not Included" warning label.

Worst offenders in Mozilla's - Privacy Not Included

  • Better Help
  • Better Stop Suicide
  • Woebot
  • Youper
  • Talkspace

According to the report, the first two apps have vague and messy privacy policies, the next three in the list share personal data with third parties, while the last one collects chat transcripts from users. That is creepy, isn't it?

The security practices of the apps were also found to be abysmal, and allowed weak passwords such as 1 or 11111111. Imagine having a single letter or number as a password as the lock for an app that contains your personal data, that is a privacy nightmare. It gets worse. The researchers at Mozilla term these mental health apps as a data harvesting bonanza. The report reveals that some apps tracked users, harvested data from their Facebook profile, and the users' phones. The collected data is then sold to insurance companies and data brokers, for a profit. Mozilla warns that information that kids and teenagers share using such apps could be used for marketing, or target them with personalized ads.

List of apps with the Privacy Not Included warning

  • 7 Cups
  • Abide
  • Bearable
  • Breathe, Think, Do with Sesame
  • Calm
  • Hallow
  • Happify
  • King James Bible - Daily Verse and Audio
  • Liberate
  • Mindshift CBT
  • MindDoc
  • Modern Health
  • Moodfit
  • NOCD
  • Pride Counseling
  • Recovery Record: Eating Disorder Management
  • Sanity & Self
  • Sanvello
  • Shine
  • Superbetter
  • The Mighty

In my eyes, these are practically malware. If you use one of these apps, check if you can delete your account with the service, and then uninstall the app. Look for offline and/or open source alternatives for mental health and prayer apps. I recommend Android users to take a look at the F-droid repository, there is a good chance that you may find an app similar to the one you were using. All apps listed on the repository are open source, and many of them are also available on the Google Play Store.

The trustworthy apps

  • PTSD Coach
  • Wysa

There were just two apps in the entire list that Mozilla says are trustworthy, PTSD Coach, made by the U.S. The Department of Veterans Affairs, and Wysa, an AI Chatbot. The report says that both apps respect the privacy of users.

The other two apps without the warning label are Glorify, and Headspace, though Mozilla hasn't given them the clean chit. You can check the list of the apps tested by Mozilla on the Privacy Not Included website. Click on the app's name to view a detailed description of the privacy practices, and permissions used by the app such as camera, location, microphone access, etc.

You're probably thinking, this whole ordeal is not really surprising. We live in a world where every big tech company is spying on us through apps, search queries and general internet usage. Google, Facebook, Amazon, and the others probably know everything about you already. I agree, but is that any reason to just give up your privacy rights?

Mental health is just as important as physical health. Even a small dose of positivity could save a depressed person's life. It's perfectly normal for people who are recovering from Anxiety, PTSD or domestic violence to seek help via therapy and/or support from family and friends. It's not hard to see why having an app that you can access from your phone could help someone stay motivated, especially if therapists are far away or are too expensive.

But when these Mental Health apps that the user relied on for helping them get on with life, exploit the user and sell their medical history and other data to third-parties, it is truly disgusting. It is hard enough for these folk to face the challenges of daily life, yet these soulless companies are preying on the weak, just to line their pockets, with no regard for privacy.

Mozilla says mental health and prayer apps have serious privacy issues
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Mozilla says mental health and prayer apps have serious privacy issues
Mozilla says these mental health and prayer apps are tracking users, harvesting personal data and selling them to third-parties.
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  1. bruh said on August 18, 2023 at 1:25 pm

    Uhh, this has already been possible – I am not sure how but remember my brother telling me about it. I’m not a whatsapp user so not sure of the specifics, but something about sending the image as a file and somehow bypassing the default compression settings that are applied to inbound photos.

    He has also used this to share movies to whatsapp groups, and files 1Gb+.

    Like I said, I never used whatsapp, but I know 100% this isn’t a “brand new feature”, my brother literally showed me him doing it, like… 5 months ago?

  2. 💥 said on August 18, 2023 at 3:55 pm

    Martin, what happened to those: 12 Comments ( Is there a specific justifiable reason why they were deleted?

    Hmm, it looks like the gHacks website database is faulty, and not populating threads with their relevant cosponsoring posts.

  3. 45 RPM said on August 19, 2023 at 6:29 pm

    The page on ghacks this is on represents the best of why it has become so worthless, fill of click-bait junk that it’s about to be deleted from my ‘daily reads’.

    It’s really like “Press Release as re-written by some d*ck for clicks…poorly.” And the subjects are laughable. Can’t wait for “How to search for files on Windows”.

    1. owl said on August 20, 2023 at 12:51 am

      > The page on ghacks this is on represents the best of why it has become so worthless, fill of click-bait junk…

      Sadly, I have to agree.

      Only Martin and Ashwin are worth subscribing to.
      Especially Emre Çitak and Shaun are the worst ones.

      If intended “Clickbait”, it would mark the end of Ghacks Technology News.
      Ghacks doesn’t need crappy clickbaits. Clearly separate articles from newer authors (perhaps AIs and external sales person or external advertising man) as just “Advertisements”!

      We, the subscribers of Ghacks, urge Martin to make a decision.

  4. chessandonions said on August 20, 2023 at 12:40 am

    because nevermore wants to “monetize” on every aspect of human life…

  5. Frank Rizzo said on August 20, 2023 at 11:52 pm

    “Threads” is like the Walmart of Social Media.

  6. Ashray said on August 21, 2023 at 4:06 pm

    How hard can it be to clone a twitter version of that as well? They’re slow.

  7. Paul(us) said on August 21, 2023 at 5:16 pm

    Yes, why not mention how large the HD files can be?
    Why, not mention what version of WhatsApp is needed?
    These omissions make the article feel so bare. If not complete.

    1. Paul(us) said on August 21, 2023 at 5:18 pm

      Sorry posted on the wrong page.

  8. Marc said on August 21, 2023 at 6:00 pm

    such a long article for such a simple matter. Worthless article ! waste of time

  9. plusminus_ said on August 21, 2023 at 7:54 pm

    I already do this by attaching them via the ‘Document’ option.

  10. John G. said on August 21, 2023 at 11:43 pm

    I don’t know what’s going on here at Ghacks but it’s obvious that something is broken, comments are being mixed whatever the article, I am unable to find some of my later posts neither. :S

  11. Tom Hawack said on August 23, 2023 at 2:28 pm

    Quoting the article,
    “As users gain popularity, the value of their tokens may increase, allowing investors to reap rewards.”

    Besides, beyond the thrill and privacy risks or not, the point is to know how you gain popularity, be it on social sites as everywhere in life. Is it by being authentic, by remaining faithful to ourselves or is it to have this particular skill which is to understand what a majority likes, just like politicians, those who’d deny to the maximum extent compatible with their ideological partnership, in order to grab as many of the voters they can?

    I see the very concept of this as unhealthy, propagating what is already an increasing flaw : the quest for fame. I won’t be the only one to count himself out, definitely.

    1. Tom Hawack said on August 23, 2023 at 2:34 pm

      @John G. is right : my comment was posted on [] and it appears there but as well here at []

      This has been lasting for several days. Fix it or at least provide some explanations if you don’t mind.

  12. Tom said on August 24, 2023 at 11:53 am

    > Google Chrome is following in Safari’s footsteps by introducing a new feature that allows users to move the Chrome address bar to the bottom of the screen, enhancing user accessibility and interaction.

    Firefox did this long before Safari.

  13. Mavoy said on September 16, 2023 at 2:17 pm

    Basically they’ll do anything except fair royalties.

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