Mozilla recently decided to offer the mental health app Modern Health to employees as part of our wellbeing program. With the growing mental health crisis around the world, many companies are adding access to mental health apps to their wellbeing programs too. It can be challenging to find companies capable of meeting high privacy standards, and so we decided it was important we include a review of the mental health app we offer to share what it is like to navigate these privacy concerns.
First, a little about Modern Health. The app offers a full spectrum of mental health services, including 1:1 sessions with care professionals, guided meditations, group sessions, digital programs, well-being assessments and more. Offered through your employer, access to the app is free. One of the features Modern Health offers the over 250 companies that use their service is access to "aggregated and de-identified" data through an "Insights Hub" . How does Modern Health look from a privacy perspective? We're happy to see they've improved their privacy practices since we first reviewed them in 2022.
What could happen if something goes wrong?
First reviewed April 20, 2022. Review updated, April 25, 2023
We do still have some questions about Modern Health and how they say they can gather personal information about you from third parties and combine that with data they already have on you to provide more personalization in their services. This isn't super uncommon these days, but it's still something you should know about. All in all though, Modern Health's privacy policies have improved a since 2022 and that makes us happy.
Read our 2022 review:
Modern Health's privacy notice raised flags for us because they say they can collect a large amount of personal information and combine or enhance this information with more information they collect on you from third parties for things such as providing more personalized services. Modern Health says they can collect a fair amount of personal information, including name, mailing address, e-mail address, telephone number, date of birth, IP address, location information, social media information, video recordings and photographs, and information about your dependents.
So yes, even the mental health app Mozilla offers employees raises some privacy concerns for us.. And overall, employer-provided access to mental health apps raises a number of privacy concerns employees should consider before using these apps. We recommend reaching out to your company's HR or wellness department to learn what access to data your company has for such apps and what policies they have in place to keep any data collected private, secure, and anonymous.
One final thing, one of the co-founders of Modern Health, who has since left the company, raised her own concerns and offered solutions about the problems she sees with mental health apps broadly and patient safety in this space
Tips to protect yourself
- 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.
What can be used to sign up?
What data does the company collect?
Name, mailing address, e-mail address, and telephone and fax number, location. When you create a user account: name, company, date of birth, contact information (phone number, email address), location, preferred password, and primary language.
Information about your health or medical condition, and your treatment
How does the company use this data?
How can you control your data?
What is the company’s known track record of protecting users’ data?
No known privacy or security incidents discovered in the last 3 years.
Child Privacy Information
Can this product be used offline?
User-friendly privacy information?
Links to privacy information
Does this product meet our Minimum Security Standards?
Modern Health applies PGP encryption to verify that any data exchanged is encrypted between the sender and receiver
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