People are suspicious that these apps could be used against them.
Period Tracking App Concerns
After the US Supreme Court overturned the Roe v Wade ruling, many period tracking apps want to reassure their millions of users that their personal data logged are safe. In states that immediately banned abortion, women’s private mobile data might be utilized against them. These states are looking to prosecute anyone who had an abortion or a miscarriage.
One of the first period-tracking apps to support women’s rights is Stardust. It announced that it would offer end-to-end encryption for all its users. The founder explained that its new terms were set to be announced before the repeal. Many women last month raised their concerns about their data. Stardust pledged that it would not sell its user data.
With encryption, the app can’t hand over the data if it gets subpoenaed by the government. The reason for this is that the login data are anonymized. It means that the app can’t view the data. When the encryption is enabled, the user is the only one who could see it.
If data is transmitted from the user’s system to host servers, it can’t be decrypted. Unfortunately, it’s not a complete fix. Apps that offered E2EE services have been criticized because they failed to disclose their full policies. They only offered limited encryption services.
There’s no way to tell now if a period tracking app would turn over its user data to the government. But other apps are known to hand off user data. Last year, Flo, a popular period tracking, received a complaint about misleading users. It also shared personal health data.
In addition to Stardust, Flo and Clue are also doing their best to protect their users. Flo, for instance, revealed that it would release an anonymous mode for its users. It recently tweeted,
“You deserve the right to protect your data. We will son be launching an “Anonymous Mode” that removes your personal identify from your Flo account, so that no one can identify you.”Flo
Flo, however, failed to provide further details about the feature’s release date. However, it is likely that the company has been working on it for a month considering that the overturning of Roe v Wade was leaked last May.
Unfortunately, Flo has a history of not being able to protect its user privacy. As mentioned, the app shared menstrual cycle data with Google and Facebook.
Clue, on the other hand, reassured its users that it operates under the strict laws of the European GDPR. The laws ensure the privacy and safety of its users’ data.
However, even though period-tracking apps reassured their users that their data are safe, users living in a state governed by an anti-choice government might want to stop using these apps.
But fertility apps may not be the only ones that will be used by the authority to track women who wish to get an abortion. It’s likely that the police may also request other tech companies for data related to users’ search histories and the sites they visited.