Apple Hearing Study inadvertently collected more health data than requested

Posted:
in General Discussion edited December 2020
Michigan Public Health notified participants in the Apple Hearing Study that the extra data it accidentally collected has been deleted, and an update to the app will prevent the issue from popping up again.

Apple Hearing Study collects more data than intended
Apple Hearing Study collects more data than intended


Apple launched the Research app in 2019 alongside three health studies, one of them for hearing health. The Apple Hearing Study is conducted by the World Health Organization and the University of Michigan.

When users signed up for the study, they provided permission for the study to access certain types of data. Those data types include:
  • headphone sound level
  • environmental sound level
  • heart rate
  • workout data types
The data collected is meant to help researchers understand the link between long-term sound exposure and its impact on hearing health. The study was meant to only collect data from the authorized categories for the time after consenting to the study.

AppleInsider was informed of the error in the data collection by reader Chris Sprague. Michigan Public Health emailed Sprague and other participants in the study to notify them of extra data collection, and what was done to rectify the situation.

The study had unintentionally collected 30 days of additional data, which was not requested as part of the study. This occurred due to a bug in the Research app but has since been corrected.

All extra data has been deleted and was not used for research purposes and was never accessed by Apple. Individual participants cannot be identified due to the privacy restrictions and lack of identifiable research subject markers as part of how the Research app functions.

The bug fix is a simple application, and only needs participants to update the Research app from within the App Store.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 6
    Lawsuits claiming unprovable billions of dollars in damages in 3...2...1...
    mac_dogjose8964
  • Reply 2 of 6
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,966member
    Lawsuits claiming unprovable billions of dollars in damages in 3...2...1...
    Unfortunately I think you’re right. From the way I read the article, Apple’s only involvement was via the App Store - The university of Michigan made the program which collected the extra data. Either way, both Apple and UM did the right thing by deleting the data and notifying users. I’m sure some self-serving lawyer will still try to extort money, though.
    SpamSandwichlongpathjose8964
  • Reply 3 of 6
    ivanhivanh Posts: 597member
    Don’t trust tech company.
  • Reply 4 of 6
    mac_dogmac_dog Posts: 1,078member
    ivanh said:
    Don’t trust tech company.
    How on earth did you get your comment from your stone tablet to the comments section?
    Alex1Nzimmermanngregoriusmjose8964
  • Reply 5 of 6
    ivanhivanh Posts: 597member
    Don’t trust WHO any more.
    cornchip
  • Reply 6 of 6
    mac_dog said:
    ivanh said:
    Don’t trust tech company.
    How on earth did you get your comment from your stone tablet to the comments section?
    Ivanh might be a bot
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