Happify

Warning: *privacy not included with this product

Happify

Happify, Inc.
Wi-Fi Bluetooth

Review date: April 25, 2023

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Mozilla says

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People voted: Somewhat creepy

Happiness has a score! Scientists who study positive psychology, aka the science of happiness, came up with techniques to make you happier. They can even tell how happy you are with tests and surveys. Because according to Happify, "happiness isn't just one thing, it's everything." Which sounds kinda existential to us. We also agree that would look great on a motivational poster. The Happify app is a bunch of science-based activities and games designed to help users beat stress, negative thoughts, and life's challenges. Lord knows life has a bunch of those.

Happify does seem to collect a fair amount of personal information and we have outstanding questions about how they manage security vulnerabilities. We know we'd be happier if they didn't collect so much personal information. Unfortunately, "privacy isn't just one thing, it's everything" doesn't look as good on a motivational poster. Or does it?

What could happen if something goes wrong?

First reviewed April 20, 2022. Review updated, April 25, 2023

Happify is an app that seems to have not gotten better or worse over the last year. This year we could no longer find any mention in their privacy policy saying the company could be collecting data about your from public or third party privacy sources (like, potentially, data brokers), which is good. They still do collect a good bit of personal information and say they can share with affiliates and partners, which you hope will be OK. We did have concerns about how long they say they can retain your data after you request it be deleted. Their privacy policy reads, "We will comply with your request as soon as reasonably practicable," which is rather vague. But, they do say they will delete your data, no matter what privacy laws you live under so that's good.

In 2023 we're still unable to confirm if Happify meets or Minimum Security Standards, as they didn't respond to our emailed questions sent to the email address listed in their privacy policy for such questions. That's bad form, Happify. More bad form from Happify (and something that really irks privacy researchers) is they signed your lovely privacy researcher up for their email list without consent. Bad! They also drop people looking to get started using Happify into a questionnaire that asks about gender, age, race, employment status, relationship status, parental status, your mental state, and other sensitive questions before they offer you a privacy policy or any idea how all this personal information can and will be used on you. Unfortunately, this isn't uncommon for mental health apps, but dang it sure does feel icky.

Read our 2022 review:

First of all, we're not at all sure why Happify needs access to your phone's flashlight, but indeed, it does request permission to control your device's flashlight when you download the app. Which is kinda funny, but also a good reminder to check the permissions an app will require before downloading it. Some of them might surprise (or frighten) you.

Happify does collect a fair amount of personal information and app usage data, as we found with nearly all the mental health apps we reviewed. They do say they can use data they collect for advertising purposes. Happify also says they reserve the right to share or sell aggregate or group data about Happify users. Generally, this aggregate data is data with no personally identifiable information. However, with the use of things like device identifiers and location data, both of which Happify says they can collect, it has been found to be relatively easy to re-identify such user data.

On the security front, we were unable to confirm is Happify has a way to manage security vulnerabilities. We emailed the company multiple times at the email provided in their privacy policy for privacy related questions to try and get answers to our questions.. We received no response. There is this line in Happify's privacy policy (many privacy policies we read contain something similar) that states, "Please be advised, however, that while we take every reasonable precaution available to protect your data, no storage facility, technology, software, security protocols or data transmission over the Internet can be guaranteed to be 100% secure. Computer hackers that circumvent our security measures may gain access to certain portions of your Personal Information, and technological bugs, errors and glitches may cause inadvertent disclosures of your Personal Information." Which is a good reminder that, yeah, any personal data you share pretty much anywhere on the internet, Happify included, is not safe.

What's the worst that could happen? Well, no one wants their terrible happiness score available for all the world to see. Here's hoping that never happens.

Tips to protect yourself

  • Opt out of cookies collection
  • Do not log in using third-party accounts like Facebook
  • 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 (eg 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: Yes

What can be used to sign up?

Facebook and Twitter sign-up available

What data does the company collect?

How does the company use this data?

"Happify™ reserves the right to transfer and/or sell aggregate or group data about Happify™ users (including Usage Data not linked to Personal Information) for lawful purposes. Aggregate or group data is data that describes the demographics, usage or other characteristics of Happify™ users as a group, without disclosing personally identifiable information."

"We may share your data with our affiliates for the purposes described in this Privacy Policy. Note, however, that Happify does NOT sell personal information to third parties. Partners: We may share your data with other companies, such as companies with whom we jointly offer products and services. Third Party Service Providers: We may share personal information with certain service providers whose services and solutions complement, facilitate and enhance our own. These include hosting and server services, communications and content delivery networks (CDNs), data and cybersecurity services, performance measurement services, data optimization and marketing services, content providers and our legal and financial advisors."

"Happify™ reserves the right to transfer and/or sell aggregate or group data about Happify™ users (including Usage Data not linked to Personal Information) for lawful purposes. Aggregate or group data is data that describes the demographics, usage or other characteristics of Happify™ users as a group, without disclosing personally identifiable information."

"When you use the Site, Happify™ Offerings, the Services, or Promotions, and based on our legitimate interest to improve them, we may collect location information either provided by a mobile device interacting with our Site or one of our applications, or associated with your IP address, where we are permitted by law to process this information."

How can you control your data?

The company promises to delete data upon your request. However, it is vague about the time it takes to delete data and about reasons to retain data.

"At your request, we will inform you of what Personal Information we have on file for you. In addition, at your request, we will update, correct, modify or delete Personal Information that you have provided to us, or that we have collected. You may do so by contacting us via e-mail at [email protected]; provided, however, that we ask individual Members to identify themselves and the information requested to be accessed or updated before processing such requests. We will comply with your request as soon as reasonably practicable. However, we may maintain Personal Information whenever we are required to do so by law or regulations or as we believe is reasonably necessary to comply with applicable law or regulations, government requests, to detect or prevent fraud, to resolve disputes, to address problems with the Services, to assist with investigations, or to enforce our terms and conditions or other applicable agreements or policies.

"User information provided to Happify™ will be retained in accordance with the strictest application of the laws of the governing authorities for the user’s primary place of residence. In the absence of applicable laws governing data retention, Happify™ will not retain data for more than 7 years beyond the date the user last logs in to Happify™."

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

"Happify™ is committed to children's privacy. Happify™ does not knowingly permit any person less than 16 years of age to register directly for the Happify™ Offerings.

If Happify™ learns that Personal Information of persons under 16 years of age has been collected on the Site or through the Services without parental consent, then Happify™ will take appropriate steps to remove the information or maintain and use such information (in accordance with the other provisions of this Privacy Policy) in order to notify and obtain consent from the parent/guardian and/or for other purposes permitted under applicable law. If you are a parent or guardian and discover that your child under the age of 16 has a registered account with the Site without your consent, please alert Happify™ at [email protected] to either provide consent, request that we change your child’s account settings, or request that Happify™ remove the child’s Personal Information. Please provide the child’s name, address, and e-mail address."

Can this product be used offline?

Can’t Determine

User-friendly privacy information?

No

Links to privacy information

Does this product meet our Minimum Security Standards? information

No

Encryption

Yes

Strong password

Yes

Security updates

Yes

Manages vulnerabilities

Can’t Determine

Privacy policy

Yes

Does the product use AI? information

Yes

Is this AI untrustworthy?

Can’t Determine

What kind of decisions does the AI make about you or for you?

"Anna is here to point you in the right direction, and to help proactively manage your mental health."

Is the company transparent about how the AI works?

Can’t Determine

Does the user have control over the AI features?

No

*privacy not included

Dive Deeper

  • Happify Health Weaves a New Path as Twill, the Intelligent Healing Company™
    Business Wire
  • Mental health app privacy language opens up holes for user data
    The Verge
  • Mental Health Apps Fail to Protect Privacy, Harming Users
    Mad In America
  • Happify: For Stress & Worry Review
    One Mind Psyber Guide
  • Happify App Review 2022: Pros & Cons, Cost, & Who It’s Right For
    Choosing Therapy
  • The Ethical Dilemma of Mental Health Apps
    Acceleration Economy Network
  • Global Mental Health Apps Market Size, Share & Industry Trends Analysis Report By Application, By Platform Type, By Regional Outlook and Forecast, 2021 - 2027
    Yahoo! finance
  • How AI Can Help Manage Mental Health In Times Of Crisis
    Forbes

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