A realisation of ethical concerns with smartphone personal health monitoring apps

Tilimbe Jiya

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review


The pervasiveness of smartphones has facilitated a new way in which owners of devices can monitor their health using applications (apps) that are installed on their smartphones. Smartphone personal health monitoring (SPHM) collects and stores health related data of the user either locally or in a third party storing mechanism. They are also capable of giving feedback to the user of the app in response to conditions are provided to the app therefore empowering the user to actively make decisions to adjust their lifestyle. Regardless of the benefits that this new innovative technology offers to its users, there are some ethical concerns to the user of SPHM apps. These ethical concerns are in some way connected to the features of SPHM apps. From a literature survey, this paper attempts to recognize ethical issues with personal health monitoring apps on smartphones, viewed in light of general ethics of ubiquitous computing. The paper argues that there are ethical concerns with the use of SPHM apps regardless of the benefits that the technology offers to users due to SPHM apps’ ubiquity leaving them open to known and emerging ethical concerns. The paper then propose a need further empirical research to validate the claim.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)313
Number of pages317
JournalACM SIGCAS Computers and Society
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016


  • Smartphone
  • Personal health
  • Health monitoring
  • Health monitoring apps


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