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Dogs That Don’t Bark: Resolving a COVID-19 Symptom Checker App’s Privacy Policy Issues

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Our investigations team recently worked with the developer of a COVID-19 symptom checker app to successfully resolve privacy issues and better protect users’ data.

We had initially discovered this particular app’s privacy concern through our investigation report on 108 COVID-19 apps. During our investigation, our team found that the health company that developed this particular symptom checker app appeared to have copied sections of its privacy policy directly from the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) COVID-19 guidance document. A privacy policy is the key document that outlines how a company intends to collect, use and share user data, ensuring that the app had its own tailored privacy policy was critical. IDAC contacted the CEO of the healthcare company, which IDAC is not naming because we were able to work directly with the developer to resolve the issues, to inform them of this issue. The company’s team quickly responded and worked with IDAC to create an updated privacy policy that better reflected the app’s use and purpose. 

We were pleased with the company’s prompt response in addressing our concerns and their collaboration with IDAC to demonstrate their commitment to consumer privacy. Given their swift response and handling of the situation, we chose not to mention this particular app, developer or company in our COVID-19 investigative report. We hope to continue to work collaboratively with other companies with whom we raise privacy concerns, and be able to similarly credit them for handling issues in a proactive manner.