Mobile apps used to track menstrual cycles are wildly popular, but in light of the current legal shenanigans of Roe vs. Wade in 1973, the issue of privacy and data protection has once again come to the fore.
Addressing the BBC, Cooper Quintin, senior technologist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), said now would be a good time for app developers to rethink their data collection practices, as well as the levels of transparency they have with their clients on this issue. Users were also urged to be careful.
“We strongly suggest that developers of policy-tracking apps start thinking about how much data they store about their customers, and in particular how the data might one day be used or misused in the future. future to cause harm, or be a surveillance tool,” Quintin told the BBC.
Sell sensitive data
“Anyone currently working with user data, particularly in the area of reproductive health, should consider what they can do to minimize the amount of data they collect and retain, and the length of time they retain those data.”
Some of the apps claim that they can help users predict ovulation days and as such have been extremely popular with users looking to get pregnant, as well as those looking to avoid getting pregnant.
However, with everything that happened with the Roe v Wade decision, some people seem to think that the data, if it ends up in the wrong hands, could be used to punish those seeking termination and abortion.
These apps often request a lot of sensitive data from their users, such as how much they bleed, do they practice unprotected sex, or what their libido is. Users are also advised to read the fine print and ensure that apps do not sell personally identifiable data to third parties, such as Google or Amazon, as some companies have been found to do just that, claiming it is for “analytical” purposes. purposes” only.