- Health as a Means Towards Profitable Ends: mHealth Apps, User Autonomy, and Unfair Commercial Practices
- Journal of Consumer Policy
- Volume | Issue number
- 41 | 2
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Law (FdR)
Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Institute for Information Law (IViR)
Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR)
In this article, we discuss mHealth apps and their potential to influence the user’s behaviour in increasingly persuasive ways. More specifically, we call attention to the fact that mHealth apps often seek to not only influence the health behaviour of users but also their economic behaviour by merging health and commercial content in ways that are hard to detect. We argue that (1) such merging of health and commercial content raises specific questions concerning the autonomy of mHealth app users, and (2) consumer law offers a promising legal lens to address questions concerning user protection in this context. Based on an empirically informed ethical analysis of autonomy, we develop a fine-grained framework that incorporates three different requirements for autonomy that we call “independence,” “authenticity,” and “options.” This framework also differentiates between three different stages of mHealth app use, namely installing, starting to use, and continuing to use an app. As a result, user autonomy can be analysed in a nuanced and precise manner. Since the concept of autonomy plays a prominent, yet poorly understood role in unfair commercial practice law, we utilize the ethical analysis of autonomy to guide our legal analysis of the proper application of unfair commercial practice law in the mHealth app domain.
- go to publisher's site
If you believe that digital publication of certain material infringes any of your rights or (privacy) interests, please let the Library know, stating your reasons. In case of a legitimate complaint, the Library will make the material inaccessible and/or remove it from the website. Please Ask the Library, or send a letter to: Library of the University of Amsterdam, Secretariat, Singel 425, 1012 WP Amsterdam, The Netherlands. You will be contacted as soon as possible.