Finch: Self Care Pet

Finch: Self Care Pet

Review date: April 25, 2023

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Mozilla says

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People voted: A little creepy

For those of you who dream of having a pet, but tend to kill plants off rather easily, this little self-care app for you. Download the app and start taking care of your little pet friend. And as Finch says, "take care of your pet by taking care of yourself!" So, treat yourself well so your little cute pet does well. The app offers self-care activities like mood check-ins, habit trackers, guided breathing exercises, motivational quotes, and analytical insights on your mental health. The more you care for you, the more your little pet is cared for. Aww...so cute. How is Finch for privacy? Well, it's not terrible, so that's good. Still, there could be ads following you around the internet.

What could happen if something goes wrong?

A little birdie told us, or no, it was the Finch privacy policy that says “When you entrust us with sensitive and personal information, we believe it is our most important responsibility to keep it as safe, secure, and private as we can.” We agree!

When it comes to privacy, Finch: Self Care Pet seems pretty OK. They say then can store any information provided during sign-up, but it seems like it’s not necessary to give up your information to get access to the app, which is good. They do have one feature, called "Super Vibe" that you can choose to use that asks you to give over access to your phone number and share the contacts in your address book. That's a lot of sharing, so Finch has a section in their privacy policy that explains how this information is handled. It's a pretty clear section in their privacy policy and we appreciate that personal information sharing is explained clearly. It's probably good to go read about how they'll hand your contacts' information before unlocking that feature.

We did a quick dip on the Finch subreddit and learned people are confused about how the Super Vibe works, so it might be reassuring to users if they made that a bit more clear inside the app. After all, it caters to the anxious among us (and who isn't anxious these days!). And who wouldn’t be anxious about the prospect of accidentally reaching out to a dusty old contact through your mental health app? They don’t seem to do anything with your contacts without your consent though, to be clear.

They also store anything you write, like your reflections and goals. But you can ask them to encrypt that information so that no one can read it but you (or technically, without your private key) by turning on “Advanced Data Protection.” Yup, we like the sound of that.

Decisions, decisions, decisions. That’s a running theme with the Finch app. Privacy-wise, you choose your own adventure. That’s better than not having a choice, but privacy by default is our preference, since we’re starting to suspect that not everyone likes to poke around in privacy settings as much as we do.

Speaking of choices, unless you disable it, they’re going to share some information about your browsing activity with third parties like Facebook, Amazon, and TikTok to track ad performance. Don't worry too much about this as this practice is super common on the internet and they do give you instructions on how to opt out. We found it kinda funny that in the part where they talk about this, they’re pulling on the ‘ol heartstrings a little by suggesting that advertising “serves to enable small businesses and mom-and-pop shops to have a chance to succeed” and later that “most of the sites and apps you know and love that show ads are probably using interest-based advertising to try to earn enough to stay in business.” Why does it feel like their adorable bird mascot will cry if I restrict my Facebook ad preferences (maybe because restricting that means restricting money)? Maybe we’re just too sentimental. In any case, here’s a palate cleanser: you have the right to delete all your data! As you should.

What's the worst thing that could happen with your cute little Finch Self Care Pet? Well, if you accidentally send your high school gym teacher a virtual hug, that could be pretty awkward. But who knows, maybe it could also make your old gym teacher's day!

Tips to protect yourself

  • Do not give access to your photos and video or camera
  • Do not log in using third-party accounts
  • Do not connect to any third party via the app, or at least make sure that a third party employs decent privacy practices
  • Do not give consent for sharing of personal data for marketing and advertisement.
  • Choose a strong password! You may use a password control tool like 1Password, KeePass etc
  • Do not use social media plug-ins.
  • Use your device privacy controls to limit access to your personal information via app (do not give access to your camera, microphone, images, location unless neccessary)
  • Keep your app regularly updated
  • Limit ad tracking via your device (e.g. on iPhone go to Privacy -> Advertising -> Limit ad tracking) and biggest ad networks (for Google, go to Google account and turn off ad personalization)
  • Request your data be deleted once you stop using the app. Simply deleting an app from your device usually does not erase your personal data.
  • When starting a sign-up, do not agree to tracking of your data if possible.
  • mobile

Can it snoop on me? information

Camera

Device: N/A

App: Yes

Microphone

Device: N/A

App: No

Tracks location

Device: N/A

App: No

What can be used to sign up?

Log-in is not required.

What data does the company collect?

How does the company use this data?

Finch wrote to us that they "do not sell data collected and never intend to, since it violates our principles about user privacy and security." and " do not obtain data from third parties about users."

"We do not sell, rent, license, or lease user personal information to third parties."

"We do not run ads for other companies on our products, so we do not need to share the data companies that do run ads on their products often do. The company is supported by subscriptions and other ways people directly contribute to the company. We do not sell user information to third parties for money."

"For marketing and advertising specifically, we may run promotional campaigns with [third-party service providers] <...> to help more people learn about the product and do our best to help more people. To make sure that these are working, that we do not lose money on the campaigns, and that we’re reaching people who may be helped by our product, we may share the minimum information possible to effectively run, improve, and learn about the performance of these campaigns with service providers. We **do not share** email addresses, names, hashed phone numbers, nor other such personal information a user has provided us with these marketing service providers. Users additional have more choices, and they can learn more about how to manage their settings in the [“Your choices”]<...> section of our privacy policy."

How can you control your data?

"You may request the following in relation to your personal information: <...> Deletion of personal information that we no longer need to provide the Services or for other lawful purposes."

The app representative informed us that users "can delete directly from the product in their settings (this performs a comprehensive deletion of any data we may have about a user), or they can make a request to [email protected]." and "We do, however, have a principle of only storing a minimum amount of data to help service, provide, and improve our product, and so do not just store data simply to have it around. And we default to deleting logs on a regular basis, with our longest retention period being no more than 3 months."

What is the company’s known track record of protecting users’ data?

Average

No known privacy or security incidents discovered in the last 3 years.

Child Privacy Information

"Our Services are not directed to children who are under the age of 13. We do not knowingly collect personal information from children under the age of 13. If we learn that we have collected personal information from a child under the age of 13 without the consent of the child’s parent or guardian as required by law, we will delete that information.

While we would like to make some of the Services available to children under 13, various countries have laws and regulations that require significant investment and cost on our part to demonstrate compliance, even if the Services would already be beneficial to people of this age. In the future we hope to have the resources to make some of our Services meet these requirements."

Can this product be used offline?

Yes

A limited set of features may not work as intended.

User-friendly privacy information?

No

Links to privacy information

Does this product meet our Minimum Security Standards? information

Yes

Encryption

Yes

Strong password

N/A

The app offers an app lock feature in settings, which people can enable to use their phone’s security (e.g. PIN or fingerprint) to open the app if they want to further protect access to their app from someone taking their physical device.

Security updates

Yes

Manages vulnerabilities

Yes

"We do <...> welcome feedback and review everything that comes into our support channels and email addresses."

Privacy policy

Yes

Does the product use AI? information

No

*privacy not included

Dive Deeper

  • Improve Your Self-Care Routine With the Finch App
  • Meet Finch, The App That Promotes Self-Care With Cute Virtual Pets
    Paste Magazine
  • Best mental health apps for Android 2023
    Android Central

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